Fly-tipped sofasHelp stop fly-tipping in Surrey: your responsibilities

What is fly-tipping?

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste on land. It can range from a black bag of household waste to large quantities of household, commercial or construction waste and is one of the most common forms of anti-social behaviour.

Why is fly-tipping a problem?

It is unsightly, threatens wildlife, causes pollution and endangers public health. Last year it cost Surrey’s councils nearly £1 million to clear up.

Who is responsible for disposing of household waste?

As a householder, you have a ‘duty of care’ to take all reasonable measures to make sure that any household waste produced on your property is only transferred to an authorised person. An authorised person includes the council that provides your normal waste collection service.

How do I dispose of waste that won’t be taken in my normal waste collection service?

  • See if your community recycling centre accepts the waste and take it yourself. This service is mostly free but there are restrictions and charges for non-household waste.
  • Check if your local authority offers special collection services – you may be charged.
  • Use a commercial waste collection service – you will be charged.
  • Donate to a reuse charity.
  • Register your unwanted items for free with Freecycle or Freegle.
  • Towels, blankets, pet beds, pet carriers etc can be donated to an animal welfare charity or you could contact your local vet or wildlife rescue centre.

You can use a hired van to take bulky waste to a community recycling centre, but you will need to obtain a permit. You can apply for one online.

If you use a commercial waste collection service, you should check whether the business is an authorised carrier.

Beware of rogue waste carriers. Reputable companies do not usually make direct approaches and will not object to questions being asked about where the waste is going.

What if I am having work carried out on my property?

If you’re arranging for a tradesman (eg builder, landscape gardener, carpet fitter) to carry out work on your property, you are responsible for the waste produced as a result of the work. You should check:

  1. That the tradesman will dispose of the waste generated.
  2. That they are authorised and registered to dispose of the waste.

How do I check if someone is a registered waste carrier?

You can check whether a waste carrier is registered on the Environment Agency’s public register or call 03708 506 506.

What do I do if I suspect my waste carrier is not following the 'duty of care' law?

What happens if my waste ends up being fly-tipped?

If the person who takes the waste from you is not authorised to do so, or your waste is illegally disposed of (eg fly-tipped), you could be prosecuted and fined if you have not taken all reasonable measures to meet your ‘duty of care’ obligations.

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