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On March 6, 2017, in Andrew Gwynne MP, APTRs - All Purpose Trunk Roads, Fly-tipping, by PeterSilverman

Average Council only prosecutes 7 cases of fly-tipping per year

The Environment Agency now concern themselves with “more serious offences” than fly-tipping  carrying out 75% fewer large scale fly-tipping  prosecutions than a decade ago

They only initiated 26  prosecutions for large scale fly-tipping in 2015

You are liable if you give your waste to an unauthorized person who then fly-tips it

Please find below links to sources of information on fly-tipping. Below each link I have cut and pasted the most pertinent points. My own comments and analysis are shown like this.

Fly-tipping statistics for England, 2015/16  – Dealt with by Local Authorities (2016/17 figs now available)

Fly-tipping is the illegal deposit of waste on land, contrary to Section 33(1)(a) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Local authorities and the Environment Agency both have a responsibility in respect of illegally deposited waste.

The Environment Agency is responsible for dealing with large-scale, serious and organised  illegal dumping incidents which pose an immediate threat to human health or the environment.

I believe the EA are not restricted to only dealing with cases where there is an immediate threat to human health or the environment. I have written to DEFRA for clarification

This statistical notice covers data reported by the local authorities in England

For the 2015/16 year, local authorities dealt with 936 thousand fly-tipping incidents

Local authorities carried out 494 thousand enforcement actions in 2015/16

There were just over two thousand prosecution actions taken in 2015/16

Most of the “enforcement actions” were “investigations” (315,000). There were only 2,135 prosecutions an average of 7 per local authority. This figure has been broadly constant since 2007/8

Details of the 125 incidents of large-scale illegal dumping dealt with by the Environment Agency in 2015/16 are reported separately and are available here.

This lead to a spreadsheet showing the number of incidents by waste type since 2011/12. There is no analysis of how they were dealt with and therefore no data on prosecutions.  

Fly-tipping stats 2006 -2015 – Dealt with by the Environment Agency

I therefore submitted an FOIA request to the EA on 20/01/17 asking for the number of fly-tipping incidents reported to them and the number of prosecutions subsequently made since 2006. The following  data was received on 21/04/2017 :

| Year | Events | Prosecutions |
| 2006 | 835 | 232|
| 2007 | 723 | 286 |
| 2008 | 507 |246|
| 2009 | 796 | 139|
| 2010 | 656 |130|
| 2011 | 423 | 104 |
| 2012 | 288 | 60|
| 2013 | 269 | 83 |
| 2014 | 245 | 70 |
| 2015 | 156 | 30 |
| 2016 | 270 | 41 |   **
| 2107 | 253 | 28 | **

(** Figures for 2016 and 2017 now available)

Over the decade the number of events they dealt with fell from 835 to 253 and the number of prosecutions fell from 232  to 28. This is just 2 prosecutions per month across the whole country.

In explanation they stated that “if illegally dumped waste is more than 20 tonnes it is likely to be referred to the Environment Agency. Local authorities have taken on responsibility for enforcement of smaller ‘fly-tipping’ waste offences”.

This is the same criteria as was quoted in the 2005 protocol (see below) so why has there been such a dramatic decline?

In further explanation they stated that “In recent years the Environment Agency has concentrated its enforcement of illegal waste activity against more serious offences rather than the activity which is often regarded as fly-tipping”.

There you have it. They have decided to concentrate on other activities

Fly tipping incidents and actions taken (national level data) 2007/08 to 2015/16

This is the raw data on which the above document is based

Environment Agency action on illegally deposited waste 2011/12 to 2015/16

This is the data referred to above showing the number of incidents by waste type but nothing about prosecutions

The Unauthorised Deposit of Waste (Fixed Penalties) Regulations 2016  Insets S33 ZA into Environmental Protection Act to allow Fixed Penalty Notices to be issued for fly-tipping.  Aimed presumably  at people depositing a boag or two of waste in the street.  Came into force May 2016.

Fly-tipping: council responsibilities DEFRA Guidance 2016

However, you need to contact the Environment Agency if the illegally dumped waste is:

  • more than 20 tonnes (about 20 cubic metres),
  • more than 5 cubic metres of fibrous asbestos or 75 litres of potentially hazardous waste in drums or containers
  • possibly linked to criminal business activity or organised crime

The Unauthorised Deposit of Waste (Fixed Penalties) Regulations 2016

Law and your environment – Fly-tipping

FLY-TIPPING AND ILLEGAL WASTE ACTIVITIES Protocol between Local Gov Assoc and the Env. Agency  January 2005

2.9 Local authorities will normally investigate and take appropriate enforcement action against: fly-tipping of quantities of waste up to and including a single tipper load of waste deposited at one time (i.e. up to approximately 20 cubic metres  in a single deposit)

3.7 The Agency will normally investigate and take appropriate enforcement action against  large-scale fly-tipping i.e. tipping of more than a lorry load (more than approximately
20 cubic metres)

National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group

Litter strategy ‘a missed opportunity’ to tackle fly-tipping on farms

Fly tipping on agricultural land: minor pest or real problem? Ashfords LLP

Both excellent summaries of the law

Local Authorities have powers that can be used against a private landowner should they fail to clear items tipped on their land promptly.

The Waste (Household Waste Duty of Care) (England and Wales) Regulations 2005

Amendment of the Environmental Protection Act 1990
2.—(1) Section 34 (duty of care etc. as respects waste) of the 1990 Act is amended as follows.
(2) After subsection 2 insert—
“(2A) It shall be the duty of the occupier of any domestic property in England to take all such measures available to him as are reasonable in the circumstances to secure that any transfer by him of household waste produced on the property is only to an authorised person or to a person for authorised transport purposes.”

This means that you are liable if you give your waste to an unauthorised person who then fly-tips it.

EA waste crime asset recovery reaches £10.9m

The Environment Agency (EA) has said that around £10.9m has been recovered from waste criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act (Poca) since 2008.

A case heard at Stafford Crown Court, where an individual was ordered to pay more than £29,000 in confiscation, resulted in compensation being awarded to an elderly couple whose land had been used to deposit illegal waste. The defendant had to sell his property to pay the victim in full.

House of Commons Debate 21st Nov 2017 – Fly-tipping in Rural Areas

DEFRA minister Therese Coffey said that “The number of incidents of large scale flytipping dealt with last year by the Environment Agency also increased to more than 200″.

These are the number of cases that they logged. What they did with them is another matter. As we have seen above prosecutions of large scale fly-tipping has fallen dramatically.  Had Ms Coffey been briefed on this I wonder. See my FOI enquiry.

Man charged under EPA S89 (littering) for fly-tipping

Why was he treated so leniently?

Petition to end tip tax


Peter Silverman
4th February 2018


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