How many times have you driven down a country lane only to see a pile of unsightly rubbish in gateways or convenient passing points. This problem is known as fly tipping, which ‘is an illegal deposit of any waste form onto land with no licence to accept waste’. Furthermore, it is a scar on the landscape and environment, resulting in huge costs to the taxpayers or landowners to remove. Fly-tipping costs the country up to £150 million to clear up every year!

Fly-tipping remains illegal, carrying a potential punishment of being fined up to £20,000 (unlimited if indicted to the Crown Court) or an offender can even be sent to prison. It is also an offence to permit fly-tipping. Further legislation now ensures that householders have a duty of care to ensure that anyone taking their rubbish away has a licence to do so, or face fines up to £5,000. (Anyone can be checked by telephoning the Environment Agency on 08708 506506 or checking online at

In addition, Local Waste Collection Authorities can also prosecute or impose a fixed penalty notice on anyone caught fly-tipping waste. In this case the person controlling the use of the vehicle can also be prosecuted, which means that it is possible for a prosecution to occur when only the vehicle, not the driver, is identifiable. The Police also have the powers to seize vehicles used for fly-tipping. Yet fly-tipping still occurs – why… lack of evidence!!

What action is being taken? 

The Environment Agency’s Fly-capture scheme which was launched in April 2004 involves a range of organisations working together to gather information about fly-tipping incidents in order to carry out more efficient and effective enforcement – and ultimately attempts to prevent it happening. It is the District and Borough Councils who are responsible for clearing fly-tipped waste, providing it is not on private land.  If the fly-tip is blocking the highway and causing an obstruction, it is the responsibility of Hertfordshire Highways (Hertfordshire County Council) to clear it. Landowners have had to invest in gates and earth banks surrounding their land in an attempt to act as a deterrent.

If you see someone fly-tipping, please make a note of and take pictures (if possible):

- date and time you saw the tipping

- location

- vehicle number

- description of people

- what was tipped i.e. how much and what it looked like

Zoë Barr says “without concrete proof, there is little to stop these criminals”. Encouragingly as a result of the National Farmers Union lobbying, the police are now committed to placing infrared cameras in strategic positions that record 24/7 in an attempt to catch these fly-tippers in the act. Unfortunately cameras in certain places often result in a displacement of the problem. How hard can it be to put a stop to such a prolific crime?! The rural community continue to suffer as a result of householders not taking responsibility for their own waste.

There is a simple solution by asking where rubbish will be taken and always using licence waste removal services. 

Should you require any further information, please contact Zoë Barr on 01727 738282