Fly-tipping and litter

Fly-tipping and Litter are both forms of ‘environmental crime’.

Reporting litter and fly-tipping

All incidents of litter and fly-tipping should be reported to your district or borough council.

The Environment Agency investigate larger scale incidents of fly-tipping involving hazardous waste and incidents involving organised gangs of fly-tippers. You can report fly tipping to the environment agency using the following number 0800 807060.

> Back to top

The difference between litter and fly-tipping

Small items (most commonly materials associated with smoking, eating and drinking) that are improperly discarded or are spilt during business operations, will be classed as Litter rather than fly-tipping. As a guideline a single sack of rubbish should usually be considered fly-tipping rather than litter. For more information on litter and fly-tipping, please visit the Keep Britain Tidy website

> Back to top


The Environmental protection Act, introduced in 1990 made littering a crime subject to a maximum fine of £2,500. The Act sets out standards of cleanliness for public places. These standards combine visual assessment of the amount of litter with fixed deadlines for cleaning up. This approach has changed the way councils operate. Instead of regular rounds, many councils now use a more flexible approach so they can respond quickly to unexpected problems.

Litter doesn’t just spoil how things look – it can also be a health hazard. Floor litter can attract rats and flies, which spread diseases. Dog fouling in public areas (another form of litter) is a serious health risk.

Litter can also be lethal to wildlife. For example, drinks left in discarded bottles often attract small animals like mice, which can squeeze into the bottles but may drown or be unable to climb the smooth, sloping surfaces to get out. Discarded fishing lines can maim and kill water birds. Plastic bags can look like food to cows, sheep, horses and marine life, but can kill if swallowed.

> Back to top


Most of our rubbish is disposed of in a responsible way. However, there are increasingly cases where people choose to tip their rubbish in the countryside or on other people’s land. Fly-tipping is illegal and offenders can be fined up to £20,000 or face imprisonment.

When reporting fly-tipping you should take note of:

  • The date, time and place where the tipping is taking place or has occurred;
  • What the waste is and roughly how much of it there is;
  • A description of any vehicles involved and the registration number;
  • A prosecution cannot be made without evidence.

Why is fly-tipping a problem?

  • Fly tipping affects us all;
  • As council tax payers, cleaning up fly tipping costs us all money;
  • It is dangerous and potentially harmful to you and your family’s health;
  • It spoils our enjoyment of the environment;
  • It can cause serious pollution and the environment;
  • It attracts arson;
  • It can be dangerous for wildlife.

> Back to top

Fly-tipping and litter was last updated on January 10, 2018.