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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 20/01/2004

Summary & Purpose
At the meeting of the Committee on 15th September 2003 it was agreed that an in-depth review should be carried out into the issue of fly tipping in Waverley. The purpose of this report is to provide background information on the relevant legal framework and to outline the Council’s specific powers and responsibilities. The report sets out the timetable for the review and identifies bodies or organisations that the Committee may wish invite to provide information or evidence as part of the review process.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Resource Use
Prevention and Control
and Nature
Safe, Healthy
and Active

Conducting a review of fly tipping will not of itself have any implications for the quality of life issues set out above. However, it is intended that any outcomes of the review should have a positive impact across all or most of the quality of life indicators.

E-Government implications:

The review will consider how E-Government initiatives could contribute to addressing the problems of fly tipping.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no direct resource and legal implications associated with this report other than the officer time involved in the review which can be contained within approved budgets. The cost and any legal implications that emerge from the review will be included as part of the final report.

Fly tipping - the legal framework

1. Generally speaking fly tipping can be defined as the illegal deposit of any waste onto land i.e. waste dumped or tipped onto a site with no licence to accept waste. The type of waste would include general household waste, larger domestic items such as fridges and mattresses, garden refuse and commercial waste such as builders’ rubble, clinical waste and tyres.

2. Fly tipping is a crime and Sections 33 and 59 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 created an offence of disposing of controlled waste on land in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to health. The offence is punishable by a fine not exceeding 20,000, imprisonment for a term of up to six months or both.

3. The problem of fly tipping has been exacerbated by the introduction of landfill Tax charged on the disposal of commercial waste. The introduction of the EU Recycling Directive on the disposal of fridges and the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations which will bring most domestic electrical goods under similar rules to those applying to fridges and freezers will make disposal of all these items more costly and potentially increase the likelihood of fly tipping. In addition, as from July 2003 the Landfill Regulations have put a ban on the depositing of certain whole tyres and only sites where their licence permits can accept whole tyres. Shredded tyres (except for bicycle tyres and certain other tyres) may not be accepted as landfill after 16th July 2006. 4. Under the Environment Protection Act 1990 there was a lack of powers provided for collection authorities (for example, Waverley Borough Council) to investigate matters and to deal with vehicles suspected of carrying waste for fly tipping. These powers mainly lie with the Environment Agency. There is also some blurring of the role to be played by local authorities and the Environment Agency, however, this has been very much clarified by guidance in force.

5. Currently, Waverley adopts an approach that most local authorities have adopted when dealing with fly tipping. Waverley would be responsible for the clearing of sites, however, any major problems would be reported to the Environment Agency, cleaning of the site would still be carried out by Waverley. Waverley would clear any incidents of fly tipping on its own land (including land which the Council are responsible for the management of) and highway land. Waverley does not deal with the clearing on private land as this is a responsibility lying with the owner, but does provide information to private land owners so that they can arrange for clearing. By reporting the situation to the Environment Agency, the intention is that the Agency will follow up by investigating and take relevant enforcement action, possibly prosecuting the persons concerned. Waverley does not prosecute for incidents of fly tipping as it does not have sufficient investigative powers, making it difficult to achieve a reasonable prospect of success due to the lack of these powers. In any event, as mentioned earlier, this function is allocated to the Environment Agency. This is not to say that Waverley could not bring prosecutions at all, however, careful consideration would need to be given to the evidence and consultation with the Environment Agency would be required.

6. Under s.33 of the Environmental Protection Act, a person may be liable to a fine of up to 20,000 and/or imprisonment. There is a power also to seize and dispose of vehicles used for illegal waste disposal. However, these powers are more appropriate for the disposal authority (Surrey County Council) as there are additional powers afforded to the disposal authority under the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989, in that they can be granted a warrant to seize vehicles. It is unclear whether this power is available to Waverley.

7. Under s.59 of the Environmental protection Act 1990 a collection authority (i.e. Waverley) has power to deal with fly tipping through serving of a notice on the occupier of a land, requiring steps to be taken for removal, reduction or elimination of the deposits. If the notice is not followed, the collection authority may prosecute (whereby a defendant may be liable to a fine not exceeding 5,000) or take reasonable steps to clear and recover reasonable costs of doing so from the recipient of the notice. There is a defence of innocent occupier, in that the notice will be quashed on appeal if held that the occupier did not deposit the waste or knowingly allow or permit it to be deposited.

8. Powers to act immediately are provided in certain cases to remove the waste or reduce the contents of its deposits but these are in certain circumstances, as follows:

Where immediate action is necessary to prevent pollution of land, water or air or harm to human health or,
Where there is no occupier of the land or,
Where the occupier is innocent in relation to the deposits

9. The Government has acknowledged fly tipping having an affect on local communities that can amount to anti-social behaviour, and has reflected this in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 “the Act”, however, the relevant provisions will not come into force until certain statutory instruments are issued bringing into force the relevant parts of the Act. The Act extends local authorities powers in cleaning land, gives waste collection authorities a strategic role for dealing with the illegal deposit or other disposal of waste (fly tipping), facilitates the definition of this role further to receipt of statutory directions to clarify the role of the authority and the Environment Agency, and extends the range of powers available to them. This is expected to lead to better enforcement of current legislation, a significant increase in investigation activity, better detection of the perpetrators of the crime and, eventually, a reduction on unlawfully deposited waste. The extension of powers include giving waste collection authorities the powers to stop, search and (after the issue of a warrant) seize a vehicle they suspect of being used for the unlawful deposit of waste, and certain powers relating to the investigation of incidents of unlawfully deposited waste.

Scope of the review

10. This Committee, at the meeting on 15th September 2003, agreed that the review of fly tipping would examine and focus on the following key questions:

The review process

11. The review process was agreed by this Committee on 15th September. However, the timetable has slipped slightly from that agreed in September in that the deadline for receipt of written evidence will now be at the end of February 2004.

12. A draft Press Release, is to be issued to the local press seeking written submissions from members of the public with their views on the problem of fly tipping. A copy of the draft Press Release is attached as Annexe 1 to this report.

13. At Annexe 2 is a list of organisations who will be specifically invited to submit written evidence.

14. All written submissions will be circulated to members of the Committee and some of the organisations and individuals making such submissions will be invited to an oral hearing (along the lines of the A3 Hindhead Tunnel review which was carried out last year). Those invited to attend the meeting would present their information or views to the Committee, after which members of the Committee would be able to ask questions. The prime purpose of the meeting is to enable the Committee to gather information in an open and public forum.

15. It is then intended that a draft report be prepared summarising the evidence gathered and at the subsequent meeting of the Committee the Committee will make recommendations for consideration by the Executive and a final report would be published with the Committee’s findings.

Site visit

16. Prior to the special meeting on 29th March 2004 the Committee might consider it useful to undertake a site visit to some known fly tipping areas in the Borough to witness problems at first hand.


It is recommended that the Committee note the content of the above report and in particular the date of the special meeting of the Committee to be held on 29th March 2004 and that the Committee agree that:

1. the listed of organisations and officers be invited to submit written statements; and
Background Papers

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

Name: Roger Standing Telephone: 01483 523221




Waverley Borough CouncilMartin Shorten
Environment Manager
Surrey County Council
National Farmers Union
Environment Agency
Surrey Police
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