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Home > Waste > Everything else in Waste > Report litter and fly-tipping

Report litter and fly-tipping

Littering

Litter spoils our neighbourhoods and environment, attracts pests and encourages others to litter. We treat it seriously. Litter can include anything from a cigarette end or piece of chewing gum, to a bag of rubbish.

Report it

You can help reduce littering by disposing of your own rubbish responsibly, and encouraging others to do the same.

If you see a stranger dropping litter, do not confront them if you feel your personal safety would be at risk.

Try to remember, and note down, as much detail about the incident as possible. Try to include:

  • the date and time
  • the location
  • what was littered
  • the name and address of the offender (if known)

If a vehicle was involved, please try to remember the make and model, colour and registration number (number plate).

Please note that we are not able to act on anonymous reports.

Report littering

The law

Littering is a criminal offence in all public places, any private land and land covered by water. Sadly, it is something that we have to clear regularly. Visit the Street care section of our website for more information.

Anyone who drops litter - including from a vehicle - is committing a crime. We can issue 'on the spot' Fixed Penalty Notices of £80. You could also be prosecuted in court and fined up to £2,500.

We can trace the owner of a vehicle caught driving away after leaving litter, via the vehicle's registration number.

Fly-tipping

Dumping waste on any land that has no environmental permit, or letting others do so on your behalf, is a criminal offence. You could face large fines, or even be sent to prison.

Fly-tipping is a health hazard, and can lead to serious pollution of land and waterways. It is also a threat to local wildlife.

The Councils and the Environment Agency are responsible for clearing up and investigating fly-tipping on public land. Clearing fly-tipping from private land is the responsibility of the landowner.

Everyone has a legal responsibility - or 'duty of care' - to make sure that all waste from their household or business is disposed of correctly.

Some people make money by charging a fee to collect waste illegally and fly-tip it. You could face penalties of up to £5,000 if you don’t check that the person or company you hire to collect waste:

  • has a licence to carry waste
  • is not taking it to an unlicensed site

There are 11 recycling centres in Suffolk where residents can safely dispose of their household waste. These centres accept business waste too, for a fee.

Preventing fly-tipping

Advice for households

You can dispose of most household waste at one of the recycling centres in Suffolk. However, if you arrange for anyone else to dispose of your waste for you, remember the 'SCRAP' code.

'S' is for suspect. Be mindful of rogue waste carriers who dump waste illegally. If in doubt, do not let them take your waste.

'C' is for check. Ask to look at their waste carrier's licence. You can also check their details via the public register of waste carriers, brokers and dealers.

'R' is for refuse unsolicited offers. Always carry out your own research, and choose who you want to take your waste away.

'A' is for ask questions. Ask what is going to happen to your waste, and seek evidence that it is going to be disposed of appropriately. A legitimate waste carrier should not object to being asked reasonable questions.

'P' is for paperwork. Make sure you get an invoice and receipt for your waste.

Read the Waste duty of care code of practice (from GOV.UK) for more information.

Advice for businesses

Businesses have a broader duty of care than households. They have to make sure that waste is stored safely and securely, and that waste information notes are completed for each load of waste removed.

GOV.UK have published guidance on how to dispose of business or commercial waste.

If you give your business waste to anyone other than:

you must check that they are a registered waste carrier. Please check the public register of waste carriers, brokers and dealers

You must also ensure that you complete waste information notes (often called waste transfer notes) relating to all waste that comes from your business. You must keep these notes for a period of two years. Failure to produce these notes when asked by the Council or the Environment Agency is an offence, for which you could be fined.

Read the Waste duty of care code of practice (from GOV.UK) for more information.

Advice for landowners

Landowners are responsible for removing and disposing of any waste fly-tipped on their land.

You can protect your land from fly-tipping by:

  • installing gates or barriers (ideally in keeping with the natural environment)
  • making sure that gates are closed when not in use
  • improving visibility so that fly-tippers are not hidden from view
  • installing or improving lighting
  • placing appropriate signage, CCTV or dummy cameras
  • clearing any dumped waste quickly, to discourage others from adding to it
  • reporting all fly-tipping incidents to the Council. Whilst we will not remove waste free of charge, we can investigate and take enforcement action where possible. In the event of prosecution, this can include an application to the courts to retrieve landowner's costs.

Read Advice for landowners: Dealing with fly-tipped waste (from the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group) for more information.

Report fly-tipping

If you discover fly-tipped waste, there are some things that you should and shouldn't do.

Do:

  • visually try to work out what the waste consists of and how much there is - take photos, if it is safe to do so
  • make a note of the date and time that you saw the tipping, its exact location and whether it’s in or near water. Keep any notes you make - even scribbled ones
  • contact us as soon as possible, so that we can investigate

Don't:

  • touch the waste - it may contain syringes, toxic chemicals or other hazardous substances
  • disturb the site - there may be evidence that could help identify the fly-tippers and lead to their prosecution

If you witness someone fly-tipping, make a note of:

  • how many people are involved and what they look like
  • what has been dumped, how much has been dumped and what it looks like
  • details of any vehicles involved - including make, model, colour and registration number if possible

Call 999 if the incident is still in progress.

Be very careful. Remember that fly-tippers are doing something illegal – they are unlikely to welcome people observing them or taking notes or photographs.

You can use our online form to report any cases of fly-tipping that you have seen. Please note that we do not accept anonymous reports.

Report fly - tipping

You can also download the Clear Waste app to report fly-tipping.