Fly-tipping makes our neighbourhoods look ugly and can also pose a health risk. Here's a handy guide of everything you need to know before reporting it.
What is fly-tipping?
Fly-tipping is the "illegal deposit of any waste onto land that does not have a licence to accept it". In simple terms, it's rubbish dumped somewhere it shouldn't have been.
That could be a mattress, an old TV, or a rusty radiator left at the end of a street, or it could be several truckloads of rubble and plaster dumped in a countryside lane.
Councils across England spend around £58 million every year cleaning it up.
How illegal is it?
Illegal enough for the culprit to go to prison in some cases. The courts have powers to punish that vary - from fines of up to £50,000, seizing vehicles, and even sending fly-tippers down.
Is it dangerous?
Aside from the fact dumped rubbish can contain dangerous items like broken glass, needles, or asbestos, fly-tipped waste can attract vermin such as disease-carrying rats. It also makes our streets look unsightly and can even damage the environment, if dangerous chemicals or liquids find their way into the watercourses or soil.
What is the council's responsibility?
The council should remove any fly-tipped waste on public land, though the authority is not responsible for clearing rubbish left on private land or unadopted roads and alleyways.
Dumping by the canal is the responsibility of the Canals and River Trust. Dumping by a river, stream, or brook is the responsibility of the Environment Agency.
And dumping on Community Gateway land is the responsibility of the Community Gateway Association.
What do I need to know before I contact the council about fly-tipping?
The following information will help:
- The date, time, and location you saw the dumped waste;
- The type of waste and approximately how much there is (for example, 10 black bin bags and one fridge);
- Details, if you have any, about who left the rubbish there, such as the name, address, or vehicle involved.
It is important not to "disturb the site" in case there is evidence there the council can use to catch the person responsible, the council said.
Touching items could also leave you at risk of being exposed to toxic chemicals, asbestos, or broken glass.
What happens next?
If the fly-tipping is found to be on public land, the council will investigate and clear it, with hazardous waste given priority.
The authority aims to clear waste within a week.
If the fly-tipping is on private or unadopted land, the council will investigate it to make sure it doesn't cause any environmental concern.
How can I report fly-tipping?
Fly-tipping can be reported to Preston Council by clicking here or calling 01772 906900.
It can be reported to the Canals and River Trust by emailing email@example.com
It can be reported to the Environment Agency by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
It can be reported to the Community Gateway Association by clicking here.