Legislation on fly-tipping
There is no specific definition of fly-tipping other than that set out in section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which says it is an offence to treat, keep or dispose of controlled waste without a waste management licence or in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health.
The absence of any formal definition of illegal waste disposal is deliberate. According to guidelines produced by Defra: “The definition of fly-tipping is a wide one. This is because there is a general recognition by all including Government ministers that fly-tipping, whether it is a dumped mattress or a lorry load of construction and demolition waste can be linked to anti-social behaviour, fear of crime and the liveability of an area.”
Most of the legislation regulating waste is covered by four main Acts: The Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989, The Environment Protection Act 1990, The Town and Country Planning Act 1991 and The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (the 2005 Act). The 2005 Act was specifically intended to make it easier to deal with environmental crimes. Part 5 of the Act covers waste and gives local authorities, the police and the Environment Agency greater powers when dealing with waste crime.
The 2005 Act raised the penalties on conviction for fly-tipping crimes, bringing the fly-tipping of all types of waste in line with hazardous waste and making ‘the polluter pay’ by allowing courts to order the offender to meet the costs for the enforcement and investigation, and for land to be cleaned of fly-tipped waste.