At first glance, fly tipping may not seem as problematic as getting harassed by your landlord or living with incredibly noisy neighbours. But, if you look closer, you’ll see that it’s actually a serious environmental crime that can lead to several consequences. For one thing, it can pollute the air, land, and water (particularly if hazardous waste is dumped), exposing you and your family to various illnesses. If left unattended, it can even promote the growth of crime and lead to the degradation of your neighbourhood!
What is fly tipping?
Fly tipping refers to the act of illegally dumping of waste on any land as well as to the act of dumping waste material on land that’s not allowed to accept it. Dumping waste in lay-bys, verges, back alleyways, public highways, and farmland counts as fly tipping, along with placing items by litter bins or recycling bins. Fly tipping is usually committed by homeowners who wish to avoid the hassle of properly disposing of bulky rubbish as well as those who simply don’t know that fly tipping is illegal. It’s also committed by rogue traders who collect waste for cash from homeowners and shop owners then illegally dispose of them. Fly tipping has become a huge problem in the UK. You’ll see or hear about fly tipping cases in many parts of the country almost every day. Some local authorities don’t seem to care too much about this problem, responding to only a few reports and generally allowing illegally dumped rubbish to languish for days or weeks. Others, meanwhile, have a stricter approach and make it a priority to catch and persecute fly tippers ASAP.
What can you do about fly tipping?
First of all, don’t be a fly tipper! Just because some people do it doesn’t mean you should. Remember: if you get caught fly tipping, you’ll have to pay hundreds or thousands of pounds in fines, court costs, and victim surcharges, and you may even end up in prison. If you want to dispose of large or bulky items, contact your local authorities and ask if they have a bulky waste collection service. If they don’t, you can use a reputable private contractor to dispose of your waste. Of course, be vigilant about fly tipping in your community.
If you notice someone illegally dumping waste, you’ll need to report them to your local council. Make sure to take note of the date, time, and location of the incident, the type of waste that was dumped, the name of the perpetrator (if you know them), and the registration number of the vehicle used by the perpetrator. Your local authorities should act right away but, if they don’t, make sure to follow up your request ASAP. Don’t wait too long, particularly during summer since the heat will make biodegradable waste go bad quickly and release an offensive smell.
Also, leaving illegally dumped waste unattended for long can contribute to the broken-window effect, which means your neighbourhood gets less desirable over time and becomes a breeding ground for more serious crimes. If your local council ignores your request, you and your neighbours can start a petition. Doing this can be helpful since it shows the authorities that many people have noticed the problem and are looking for a solution. You can go to www.asbhelp.co.uk/petition to find tips on making a petition.