Fly tipping is when rubbish is illegally dumped on roads or land. It is a serious crime that costs the taxpayer £350,000 a year, and could lead to a fine of up to £50,000 and a prison sentence for those responsible.

Even if your rubbish is fly tipped by someone else without your knowledge, it's important to be aware that the waste could be traced back to you, and also the person who dumped it and you could be prosecuted.

Report fly tipping

What is fly tipping and why is it a problem?

Fly tipped waste typically consists of household waste, large domestic items such as fridges and furniture, garden refuse, building rubble, asbestos waste and tyres.

The fly tip can be as small as a single black bin bag or as big as an entire lorry load (or more!)

Fly tipped rubbish:

  • costs over £350,000 a year to clear up
  • pollutes watercourses and contaminates the ground
  • can be a risk to human health and harm wildlife and livestock
  • blights our streets and countryside and spoils the enjoyment of our environment for the people that live, visit and work in our district, and
  • is a major problem for many landowners and farmers.

Your rubbish, your responsibility

We all have a legal responsibility to make sure that our household or business waste is disposed of properly. Whether you are a homeowner or a business, you face an unlimited fine if your rubbish is fly tipped.

Here's how to avoid a fine and correctly dispose of your waste.

If you are a homeowner

By law, you are responsible for any household waste produced on your property. This is known as your 'duty of care', and means that you must make sure that all of your rubbish is disposed of safely and legally.

Whether you have finished a DIY project, been clearing out unwanted household items, or have been busy sprucing up your garden, it is down to you to dispose of any waste properly.

You could face an unlimited fine if your waste ends up fly-tipped and you cannot show that you took reasonable steps to prevent it, so if you are looking to start a project, consider what waste you may generate and how you will dispose of it once you are done.

To safely and legally dispose of your waste, you can:

Use a registered waste carrier

When fly tipping occurs, it is often carried out by illegal waste carriers who promise to take your waste away for a bargain price, and then dump it. Some of these people will drive around specifically targeting homes where there is evidence of work taking place (for example, a skip or scaffolding), and will knock on the door and offer to remove your rubbish for a much lower price that anyone else.

Some may say that they have a permit to carry waste from West Sussex County Council, but this is not sufficient — they must be registered as a waste carrier with the Environment Agency to legally dispose of your waste (please see more details below).

As a council, we offer a variety of services to remove excess rubbish that can't be collected as part of your normal kerbside bin collection. Our Bulky Household Waste service is great for getting rid of large unwanted items such as beds, sofas, mattresses, fridges and cookers, and our Garden Recycling service is a convenient and cost-effective way to get rid of your garden waste.

If you employ someone else to remove and dispose of any waste on your behalf, you should:

  • Take down their details and check with the Environment Agency that they are a registered waste carrier, or call 08708 506 506.

Please note that a permit from West Sussex County Council and a waste carrier licence from the Environment Agency are very different things. We've been told about several instances of tradespeople claiming they have a permit from West Sussex County Council allowing them to undertake waste clearance for someone else, when in reality these permits only allow householders to dispose of their own waste. Always check that the person you use to remove your waste is licensed with the Environment Agency.

  • Ask the waste carrier where your waste will be taken, as the site should be licensed by the Environment Agency.
  • Note down the following details: when your waste is collected; who collected the waste and a description of them; vehicle details and registration, and; the time and materials they took away.
  • Ask the waste carrier for a waste transfer note. This will show: a description of the waste; where it came from; the person or business collecting the waste and their carrier number, and; your signature and the collector's signature. It should have a reference number and must be kept as proof, should you ever need it.
  • If you have any concerns, don't hand over your waste.

Consider our Bulky Household Waste and Garden Recycling services

We can collect up to eight items from domestic properties when you book a bulky household waste collection online. The service costs £26 for the first item and £15.50 for each additional item.

Our garden recycling service costs around £1 per week when paid by Direct Debit and includes a green bin. We collect your garden waste every two weeks from outside your property boundary. Your garden waste is locally recycled into compost by the Woodhorn Group.

Take your waste to a Household Waste and Recycling Centre

You can dispose of your own waste at your nearest amenity tip .

It is worth noting that charges to dispose of DIY materials at West Sussex centres have been suspended, however residents who drive a van, pickup or single axle trailer need to apply for a permit to use these sites.

Sell or donate unwanted items

Consider donating items in good condition to charities, finding them a new home by gifting them to others or selling them on, or try upcycling them. By recycling you can reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

If you are a business

Any waste that comes from a commercial activity is regarded as business waste. If you carry waste, be it waste you produce yourself or waste you transport for others, you must be registered with the Environment Agency or face a £5,000 fine.

See it, note it, report it.

Fly tipping is a serious offence that we take very seriously. We are working hard to tackle the issue, but we need your help.

If you see someone fly tipping or would like to report an area where an incidence of fly tipping has recently taken place, please report this to us.

You will need to make a note of the following, which will help us take action:

  • The date, time and place of the occurrence.
  • What the waste looks like and how much there is.
  • A description of any vehicles involved, including the vehicles registration numbers, if known.
  • A description of any persons seen to be involved in the offence.
  • A description of events as you saw them happen.

Detailed reports with this information are very important in helping us to prosecute offenders, but be sure not to put yourself in any danger to get it. Fly tippers are doing something illegal so they do not want to be caught. Some may even become violent so you should not approach them.

Only approach the site when you are sure that it is safe to do so, but don't touch any of the waste as the contents could be hazardous — always assess from a distance.

You can also report larger scale fly tipping to the Environment Agency.

Pledge your support to our Against Litter campaign

Help us ensure a litter-free Chichester District by joining our Against Litter campaign.