Commercial fly tipping - who pays and what can be done?

Commercial fly tipping has quickly emerged as a problem within the UK, causing both environmental issues and legal challenges for businesses. Commercial fly tipping refers to the illegal dumping of waste, which is typically financially motivated.

This can often result in serious legal issues for those involved, our commercial fly tipping solicitors play an important part in helping businesses to navigate this complex legal area, guiding them through the various regulations and restrictions concerning waste disposal.

We can provide specialised insight on compliance with important waste disposal regulations. Our team can advise you on how to prevent illegal dumping, as well as ensuring that your business meets its legal obligations, avoiding any repercussions in the process.

In this blog we will discuss the topic of commercial fly tipping, defining exactly what it means, who is responsible for removing the waste, the penalties, and what can be done to prevent fly tipping on your land.

If you need support today, please get in touch with our expert solicitors at Renshaw Derrick.

What is commercial fly tipping?

Commercial fly tipping refers to the illegal dumping of waste, be it on public or private land. Typically, this is done for financial gain as following the regulated guidelines can often cost businesses a fair amount of money.

In 2020/21, local authorities dealt with roughly 1.13 million incidents, many of them run by organised criminals who provide commercial fly-tipping services. If a business is found to be fly-tipping, they are highly likely to receive a commercial fly-tipping penalty.

Is commercial fly tipping an offence?

Yes, fly tipping is a criminal offence and can potentially result in large fines. Fly tipping also occurs when waste is stored, treated or disposed of on unauthorised land. Even if the waste is not disposed of on the land, if it has been treated or kept temporarily on the land, it is still classed as a commercial fly tipping offence.

What is the correct way to dispose of commercial waste?

Businesses have a legal obligation to keep their waste to a minimum. This means that they must do everything within their power to prevent, reuse, recycle and recover waste. They must also complete a waste transfer note for each load of waste that leaves their premises. Companies should also ensure that they are working with waste carriers who are registered to correctly dispose of waste and that the waste is not being disposed of illegally, or they can be held liable.

What are the penalties for commercial fly tipping?

Commercial businesses that produce waste are legally obligated to dispose of it in the correct way set out by the law. If waste from a company is discovered to have been dumped illegally, also known as ‘fly tipping’ the business may then face legal repercussions.

Both businesses and individuals can be prosecuted by the relevant authorities if they are found to have engaged in commercial fly tipping.

The penalties include large fines, and some offences can even lead to imprisonment. There is no set fine for commercial fly tipping, as the penalty is judged by the particulars of the case.

Who is responsible for removing fly tipped waste?

It is also important to note that the person who owns the private land where the fly tipping occurred is then seen as responsible for its removal, even if they had nothing to do with the incident. This can result in large fines and fly tipping penalties if they do not clear up the waste properly.

Many are left wondering ‘who pays’ to remove waste that has been fly tipped on their land. Unfortunately, as the landowner is viewed as responsible, they will initially need to pay to have the waste removed.

Regardless, the landowner does have the option to pursue a legal claim against the party who is responsible for the fly tipping. This provides them with the opportunity to recuperate their losses for the waste removal, as well as potentially claiming compensation.

Local authorities also can issue clean-up notices, which order the party responsible for the illegal waste to remove it within a set time frame.

At Renshaw Derrick, we can help landowners who find themselves in this situation, providing legal advice based on your circumstances. We can also support individuals who’ve been accused of fly tipping, helping to build your defence case, or to negotiate reduced penalties if you have been found guilty.

What can I do to prevent fly tipping on my land?

When attempting to prevent fly tipping on private land you should:

  • Ensure that your land is secure, using lock gates that open onto any public roads and that your perimeter has no accessways available.
  • Reduce any foliage that could act as a cover to hide waste.
  • Install CCTV in various areas on your land which you think would be prime targets for fly tipping.
  • Work with your local community together by sharing information and advice on how to prevent fly tipping.
  • Clear any waste as soon as possible so as to not encourage further fly tipping.

Should fly tipping occur on your land, you should report it to the local council immediately. If you notice it happening in the moment, make sure to note down any registration numbers on any of the vehicles present as well as calling 999.

Our commercial fly tipping solicitors are experts in fly tipping law and have extensive experience in this niche area of the law. We will be more than happy to advise you on the best ways to protect you and your land.

Speak to our solicitors

If someone has fly tipped on your land, or you have been accused of commercial fly tipping, our experts at Renshaw Derrick can help you.

Should you have any questions about fly tipping legislation, our solicitors are more than happy to answer these. To speak to one of our solicitors you can call us on 01202 552777 or email us at You can also use our contact form to request a call back.