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Illegal dumping

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Flytipping (also known as Illegal Dumping) is the illegal deposit of any waste on land that has no licence to accept it. This includes anything from one black bag on the side of the road to ten tonnes of rubble dumped down a quiet lane. Land where illegal dumping takes place can include parks, streets, roads, laybys, verges, beaches, wooded areas, and fields.

What are the types of waste being fly-tipped?

  • bags of household waste
  • mattresses
  • white goods
  • tyres
  • furniture
  • construction/building/tradesmen materials
  • grass/tree/hedge cuttings

Why is fly-tipping a problem?

  • It’s dangerous to people and animals
  • It attracts vermin
  • It looks unsightly
  • It can cause environmental damage
  • It attracts other rubbish
  • It undermines legitimate businesses
  • It costs Fife Council Tax payers considerable sums to clean up.

Who deals with fly-tipping?

  • Public Land – Fife Council is responsible for clearing and investigating fly tipping on public land such as roads and park.  They will use any available evidence to find and prosecute those responsible.
  • Private Land – If fly tipping occurs on private land it is the responsibility of the landowner to remove it and dispose of it responsibly.
  • Large-scale fly tips (hazardous waste and organised waste crime gangs) – SEPA has a responsibility to carry out an investigation into large scale fly tips. Fife Council will make the area safe until it can be removed.

If you are a householder you must ensure that all your waste is properly disposed of. This applies to all domestic properties, caravans and residential homes.

People who dump waste illegally can be the subject of a fixed penalty fine of £200 but more serious cases can be reported to the Procurator Fiscal and may incur fines up to £40,000 or even imprisonment.

Advice for businesses

All business have a legal duty to dispose of their waste properly. Please visit our Business Waste page for more information.

Things to consider

If you discover fly-tipped waste:

  • Don't touch the waste - it may contain syringes, toxic chemicals or other hazardous substances
  • Don't disturb the site - there may be evidence that could help identify the fly tippers and lead to their prosecution
  • Visually try to work out what the waste consists of and how much there is
  • Make a note of the day, date and time you saw the tipping, its exact location and whether it's in or near water
  • Take a photo if it's safe and possible to do so

After you have discovered the fly tip and done the above, you can then report it to us by completing or by using the following methods:

We aim to respond within 24 hours if the items could cause damage to the public, wildlife or the environment. In all other circumstances, we will attend within three working days.

Further Information

For advice on preventing waste being dumped illegally on your land, please contact us or visit Zero Waste Scotland.

For information on recycling and waste for residents of Fife, please see Household recycling.