Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland


fly tippingFly tipping - illegal dumping of waste

People convicted of fly-tipping offences can:

  • receive substantial fines
  • receive prison sentences of up to five years
  • be made to pay the costs of enforcement, investigation and clean-up
  • be made to give up any vehicles used to carry out fly-tipping.

What you must do

You are responsible for the disposal of any material that is fly-tipped on your land. You have a legal duty of care to ensure that the waste is disposed of or recycled at an authorised facility.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

If you arrange for the waste to be removed, you must check that the person who removes the fly-tipped waste is a registered waste carrier.

You must complete a waste transfer note before you pass your waste on to someone else, or a consignment note if the waste is hazardous/special waste. You and the waste carrier must both sign the note.

Hazardous/special waste

Good practice

If you discover fly-tipped material on your land, report it:

Do not touch the fly-tipped waste:

  • It may not be safe, as the waste can include substances or objects that could pose a risk to you, like toxic materials or sharp objects. Do not open bags or drums. Piles of soil may be contaminated or hide dangerous material.
  • You could disturb the site, where there may be evidence to assist in the investigation.

If you see anyone fly-tipping waste, take details of their vehicle, including its registration. Be discreet - remember that fly-tippers are doing something illegal and so they are unlikely to welcome people observing them or taking notes or photographs.

Before you arrange to dispose of the fly-tipped waste from your land, check with your local council or your environmental regulator that they have all the evidence they need for any investigation.

Tips for preventing fly-tipping

Work out why your land is being targeted. You can then make your property less vulnerable.

Install gates and barriers to prevent access. These can be in keeping with the natural environment, eg boulders. Make sure that you do not block a public right of way.

Close gates when not in use and lock them if possible.

Improve visibility so that fly-tippers are not hidden from view. Clear small areas of land or landscaping to reduce hidden corners.

Install or improve lighting.

Further information

Northern Ireland: Fly-tipping

Scotland: Fly-tipping

Additional resources

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