February 8, 2024

How using regulated waste management services can combat fly-tipping in Brighton

How using regulated waste management services can combat fly-tipping in Brighton

Fly-tipping is a big problem throughout Brighton, Hove and the rest of Sussex, with 267 fines issued between April 2022 and March 2023. Figures from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) show that there were also 2,502 penalty notices issued pertaining to 13,829 cases. In fact, during the period between 2022 and 2023, Brighton and Hove City Council issued more fly-tipping fines than any other local authority, except in London boroughs.  

In an article published in the Argus, Councillor Tim Rowkins was quoted as saying, “We have a zero tolerance approach to fly-tipping of any sort. Once those responsible are identified, we will be looking to prosecute them…people are encouraged to dispose of their waste responsibly or face on-the-spot fixed penalty notices.”

What is fly-tipping?

Fly-tipping is the term used for illegally dumping waste, from a black bin bag to furniture and fridges. It covers all types of rubbish, large and small, and it doesn’t matter whether it is left in an orderly pile next to refuse bins or an enormous mountain discarded in a field or at the side of the road, if not disposed of correctly it is fly-tipping.

No one should consider fly-tipping to be a victimless crime. It is not, it affects everyone, costing local authorities and landowners a small fortune to dispose of the detritus in a safe and legal manner. It is not only an eyesore, as toxic elements could also be present in the rubbish that could pose health hazards. Commercial fly-tipping involving lorry loads of commercial or construction rubbish dumped in fields or at the side of the road, can be even more hazardous. If toxic elements, for example asbestos, is allowed to enter the ground and the water this can seriously affect the environment, animals and people.

Penalties for fly-tipping

Fly-tipping is taken seriously throughout the UK, anyone caught can be prosecuted which could result in a fine and the worst-case scenario imprisonment. If caught, the penalties can be severe: in the Crown Court the maximum sentence is 5 years and in a magistrates' court 12 months, both can impose unlimited fines.  

Business owners’ duty of care

If you are a business owner, you are legally obliged to dispose of your waste correctly. You may not realise that it is an offence for someone to fly-tip your waste on your behalf. This is particularly relevant for hazardous or controlled waste (read our blog “Hazards of WEEE waste”). It is not permitted for employees to transport or handle controlled waste without acquiring the correct permit to become a registered carrier.  Also, incorrectly labelling controlled waste to avoid disposing of it by registered carriers is also an offence. This also applies to individuals who must also ensure that all household waste, including chemicals should ensure it is disposed of legally by an authorised waste removal company.

To legally transport and dispose of controlled or hazardous waste the company / person you contract must be registered under the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989 (section 1). Failure to produce the correct registration documents upon request, will result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £300.

Waste audit report

Whether you hire a man with a van or a long-established company specialising in recycling and waste management in Brighton like G&S Clearance, you must ensure they are registered with the appropriate authority and that they can provide you with your waste audit report. This paperwork is crucial, as it proves you have disposed of your waste correctly. You can find out if your waste removal company is registered on the Environmental Agency’s website.

In conclusion, if it is your waste, it is your responsibility. Everyone has a legal 'duty of care' to ensure their household or business waste is disposed of correctly. If unclear as to your obligations or the rubbish removal company’s credentials, follow these 5 simple steps:

1. Request proof of the vehicle’s registration and take a note of the registration number

2. Check online at the Environmental Agency website that the company is registered

3. Do not accept any offers to remove your rubbish by unlicenced people

4. Ask where and how the waste will be disposed of

5. Ensure you will receive a waste audit report including an official invoice, waste transfer note and receipt and information about where the waste has been taken, and full contact details

The only way to combat fly-tipping is to be vigilant and to ensure any waste management company you use is fully licenced.

If you have witnessed anyone fly-tipping or have noticed illegal tipping in your area, you can report it by emailing environmentalenforcement@brighton-hove.gov.uk or calling the fly-tipping hotline on 01273 295 063.

If you need to arrange for the safe removal and disposal of office waste collection, construction clearance, builders waste clearance, household rubbish clearance, WEEE recycling and much more, in Brighton, Hove and Sussex area, get in touch with G&S Clearance by emailing info@gsclearance.com. Alternatively, visit the website www.gsclearance.co.uk/.

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