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News release from: 15/08/2023

Fly tippers beware - crackdown in South Cambridgeshire

Fly tippers beware - crackdown in South Cambridgeshire

Fridges to furniture, bedding to builders’ waste, children’s homework to a letter date- stamped from 1972, no two days are the same for the District fly-tipping investigators.

South Cambridgeshire District Council is determined to crack down on illegally dumped rubbish and has prioritised it as a key objective in its Business Plan by:

  • Prompt clearance of rubbish to reduce further occurrences at the same site.
  • Deterring criminal activity using ‘fly tip under investigation’ stickers to highlight ongoing investigations.
  • Joint roadside check initiatives with the Police, HMRC and other partners.

Fly tipping is a criminal offence which can result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £400 or could end up in court with fines of up to £50,000 or even a prison sentence.

The Council receives around 1,600 reports a year on its online reporting page which amounts to more than four reports a day, every day, throughout the year - including Bank Holidays. Rubbish dumpers don’t take the day off, not even for Christmas.

Cllr Henry Batchelor, Lead Cabinet member for Environmental Services, said: “Fly tipping is not only antisocial it is a crime which blights communities, poses a risk to public health and the environment, and costs up to £392 million a year nationally. In South Cambridgeshire it cost us £68,000 for fly tip removal in 2022/23. This is just the cost for time and labour alone. Uncontrolled illegal waste can be hazardous to the public, especially if it contains toxic material or asbestos. There could be a risk of damage to watercourses and soil quality from the dumped waste. In short, dumped rubbish is a disaster for people, natural wildlife, watercourses, plants and hedgerow – as well as the obvious immediate concern of looking unsightly and ruining our beautiful countryside.”

He continued: “Sadly many people are conned into thinking they are having their waste removed responsibly by answering “man with a van” ads on social media and have no idea that their rubbish is destined to be fly tipped. What many people also don’t realise is they are then responsible and could be fined for not properly checking the removal business was a reputable waste collection service.”

Fly tip waste

Once a report comes in, the Council gets to work. This could be arranging for immediate removal if the dumped rubbish is on public land and it looks unlikely that any evidence of ownership can be found eg an empty fridge.

Alternatively, if the report involves a pile of fly tipped rubbish, investigators make an onsite visit to look for vital clues to track down where it may have come from.

Wearing protective clothing, in case of syringes or toxic chemicals, onsite visits involve sifting the rubbish to look for identifying information from things like letters, parcel address labels or invoices from dumped business waste.

Investigations could result in issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice or, with sufficient evidence, launching criminal proceedings.

Everyone has a legal 'duty of care' to ensure their household or business waste is disposed of correctly. You can be prosecuted even if your waste is fly-tipped by someone else on your behalf. If it is your waste, it is your responsibility.

Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, CEO of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “As leaders in our field, we at Keep Britain Tidy know only too well the devastating impacts of fly-tipping and have piloted successful methods of curbing this kind of behaviour and effecting meaningful behaviour change. I am delighted that South Cambridgeshire District Council will be taking this important step forward in combatting this dreadful problem and we continue to offer our support to councils throughout the country in bringing fly-tipping numbers down.”

South Cambridgeshire District Council is urging residents to do the right thing and properly get rid of their rubbish by:

  • Consider giving it away for free on Facebook marketplace, Gumtree or taking to your local charity shop.
  • If possible, reuse, repair or recycle your items before getting rid of them.
  • Ensure you choose a reputable registered waste carrier disposal service.
  • South Cambridgeshire District Council can arrange for collection of bulky items for many common household goods. We collect a maximum of nine items per collection. Up to three items can be booked for the minimum charge of £32.50. Additional items are then £5.50 each.
  • Take your rubbish to one of Cambridgeshire’s Household Recycling Centres

What should you do if you see fly tipped waste?

  • Report using our online fly tipping tool Make a note of exact location
  • Date and time you discovered the fly-tipping
  • Details and photos of the items
  • Vehicle's registration number and other identifying features such as colour and model

Did you know?

  • South Cambridgeshire District Council can support local communities to run community clear up days. Get in touch and we can provide you with litter picking equipment and bags, and also arrange to collect all of your rubbish. Call 01954 713 000 or email
  • Cigarette butts are the most dropped piece of litter with 120 billion dropped globally every year
  • Cigarette butts take 14 years to decompose.
  • Environmental crimes make up a third (33%) of all crimes by companies, corporations and businesses. Source: Keep Britain Tidy.
  • Environmental crime is the fourth largest criminal activity globally. Source: Keep Britain Tidy.
  • Environmental crime increases nationally year on year by 5-7%.

FLy tipped waste at Caxton Gibbet