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Landowners Don't Be Left In a Mess Over Fly-tipping

View profile for Jonathan Flynn
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Fly-tipping covers a range of illegal activity from small amounts of domestic waste to large “industrial” fly-tipping, which can often include hazardous material. This illegal dumping of rubbish can be very frustrating, unsightly and, often dangerous, to livestock, wildlife and people. If you, as a landowner, are dealing with this issue, you should first instance let the local authority know. Any larger-scale incidents should be dealt with by Natural Resources Wales.

In theory, anything more than a single black domestic bag of waste that is deposited somewhere illegally could be deemed fly-tipped rubbish. It is the landowner’s responsibility to pay for the removal and disposal of fly-tipped waste and therefore, if you find waste on your land you should:

  • Record it immediately to your local authority or through the Fly-tipping Action Wales website
  • Record details of the waste deposited, including taking photographs of the waste, noting down the extent of it and what it appears to be and when you found it
  • Be careful as some fly-tipped waste can be dangerous/hazardous. Try not to touch anything and be cautious of any dangerous materials
  • Check if you have any relevant insurance for the cost of its removal and appropriate legal disposal

Your local authority may want to investigate the incident before you remove the waste from your land and therefore check that they have all the evidence they need before you do so. If you are removing waste from your property you should do so in line with the Government’s duty of care:

You must see proof from anyone who disposes of the waste that they are registered with Natural Resources Wales to carry and/or accept waste. You can also check online.

Ensure that you take note of the name of the person or business collecting the waste, their vehicle type and registration, the date they removed it and where it is going. You are at risk of a £300.00 fixed penalty notice if you fail to meet your duty of care. If you opt to remove fly-tipped waste yourself you do not need to register as a waste carrier to transport it but you must take it to a registered site. If you elect this option then keep note of any costs you incur as you may be able to recover these costs if there is a successful prosecution.

If you have evidence of the person who undertook the tipping you may be able to consider a private prosecution to recover the cost of removal and legal costs. It is a remedy that is not often pursued but can be an effective tool in the right circumstances and if it is commercially worth pursuing.

How To Protect Your Land From Fly-Tipping?

Prevention is very often better than cure so that you landowners are not left with waste that needs to be removed. Therefore, landowners should be careful to restrict access to their land by installing gates or other physical barriers. However, it is essential landowners are aware of any private and/or public rights of way so you do not interfere with or block them completely.

Landowners should make sure gates are kept closed and locked when they are not in use, particularly at night. They should also consider installing lights or keeping outdoor lights on to improve visibility. Similarly, warning signs and CCTV cameras can help deter potential fly-tippers (and also assist in showing who was responsible for any fly-tipping).

Fly-tipping Action Wales has previously said that anyone who fly-tips should expect the full weight of the law. The public should carefully think about how waste will be dealt with before undertaking projects and how to legally dispose of it to ensure there is no noncompliance with the law.

JCP Solicitors’ Rural Practice and Property Litigation teams have extensive expertise in this field of law and is on hand with tailored legal support during this time. Get in touch with our expert team on 03333 208644 or email