Fly-tipping is the illegal deposit of waste on public or private land.

Fly-tipping differs from littering as it involves the removal of waste from premises where it was produced with the deliberate aim of disposing of it unlawfully, or as a result of legitimate outlets not being available.

The offence of fly-tipping, and the additional offences of ‘knowingly causing’ or ‘knowingly permitting’ fly-tipping, are set out in Section 33(1)(a) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Section 33 is enforceable by both the Environment Agency and the local authorities.

The penalties for these offences are:

    • Summary conviction: to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine or both; and
    • On conviction on Indictment: to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or a fine or both.

Directors, officers and senior employees can be imprisoned, and there is the possibility of licences being revoked if the person in question is not regarded as a ‘fit and proper person’ following conviction.

The registered keeper of a vehicle is liable for conviction if their vehicle is used during a fly-tipping offence.

Anyone who produces waste has a duty of care under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to ensure that it is disposed of properly. Therefore a person may be guilty of an offence under section 34 if their waste has been found to be dumped, even if the dumping was carried out by someone else. The duty applies to both businesses and householders.