Illegal waste disposal describes a variety of offences from waste placed out to waste deposited on land that has no licence to accept it (i.e. fly-tipping) or waste carried without a licence.
The nature and scale of the material involved may be a single black bin bag or a refrigerator. Or it may be tyres and multiple lorry loads of construction waste.
- Local authorities deal with thousands of incidents of illegal waste disposal every day: maintaining good overall standards across the country and keeping, at a low level, the number of incidents to which the public are exposed.
- In spite of this, where illegal waste disposal does occur it is very visible and a significant cause of public concern.
- Not only does fly-tipping reduce the amenity of public spaces, it poses a risk to public health and large-scale incidents are often highly organised, commercial activities where offenders are guilty of other, more serious types of crime.
- Any attempt to prevent illegal disposal must be part of a wider strategy for the management of waste that is based on a thorough understanding of the needs of a local authority’s residents and businesses.
- Local authorities must provide information about what waste services are available to their residents and businesses. This must be easily accessible and available in the right format, at the right time and to the right people.
- Local authorities have a duty to provide a waste collection service for residents and businesses. In turn, residents and businesses have a legal responsibility to ensure that the waste they generate is disposed of in a suitable manner and in the correct number, type and size of receptacles.
- Enforcement can prevent or deter illegal waste disposal, although the type used will depend on the nature and scale of the incident.
- Local authorities are not the only agency that would benefit from reduced fly-tipping. To deal with the problem they should work in partnership with the Environment Agency, other land managers, the police, Inland Revenue.