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

View profile for Bronte Pettifer
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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 let the local authority know, in the first instance. 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, so, 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 – take photographs and note down what it appears to be, when you found it and how much there is.
  • Be careful - some fly-tipped waste can be hazardous. Try not to touch anything and be aware of any dangerous materials.
  • Check if you have any relevant insurance for the cost of removal and proper disposal.

Your local authority may want to investigate the incident before you remove the waste from your land, so 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: naturalresources.wales/checkWaste.

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 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. Keep note of any costs you incur. You may be able to recoup 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 recoup 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.

How To Protect Your Land From Fly-Tipping

Prevention is very often better than cure, so landowners should be careful to restrict access to their land by installing gates or other physical barriers. However, be aware of any public rights of way, so you do not block them completely.

Make sure gates are kept closed and locked when they are not in use, particularly at night. Consider installing lights or keeping outdoor lights on to improve visibility. Similarly, warning signs and CCTV cameras can help deter potential fly-tippers.

Fly-tipping Action Wales has advised that anyone who fly-tips should expect the full weight of the law. It stresses that this current spell of lockdown should not be used as an excuse to dump waste illegally by those who may be getting stuck in to DIY tasks. The public should think about how waste will be dealt with before undertaking projects. There are though some who will flout the law and this is one of the perverse problems exacerbated by the lockdown.


JCP Solicitors’ Rural Practice team has extensive expertise in this field of law and is on hand with tailored legal support during this time. For more information please contact Trainee Solicitor, Bronte Pettifer on 01792 525435 or email bronte.pettifer@jcpsolicitors.co.uk.

Bronte started her training contract with JCP in March 2020 and is currently enjoying her first seat within the Rural Practice team in Swansea. Bronte is hoping to build upon her previous crime and regulatory experience and utilise her personal experience of having an agricultural background, in her current seat

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