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What work is happening in Dorset?

In the Police and Crime Plan 2021-2029 Priority 4: to Fight Rural Crime, includes four key themes, one of which is to target fly-tipping in Dorset.

Through the Rural Crime Reduction Board, set up to oversee the delivery of Priority 4, we are working with partners including BCP and Dorset Councils, the Force, the Environment Agency, and a range of other organisations to reduce the blight on our landscape and harm to wildlife caused by  fly-tipping.

What is fly tipping?

Fly-tipping is the illegal disposal of household, industrial, commercial or other 'controlled' waste. The waste can be liquid or solid; controlled waste includes garden refuse and larger domestic items such as fridges and mattresses.

Fly-tipping is not the same as littering. Littering is commonly assumed to include materials, often associated with smoking, eating and drinking.

Where can I find out more and report fly-tipping?

If the fly-tipping is in the Dorset Council area you can report it here

If the fly-tipping is in the BCP (Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole) Council area you can report it here


In May 2022, a research briefing on ‘Fly-tipping: the illegal dumping of waste’ was published by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), highlighting the issues of fly tipping and showcasing the work being done to tackle it.

How big is the problem?

The most recent Government fly-tipping statistics for England, 2020/21 show that:

  • In 2020/21, local authorities in England dealt with 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents, an increase of 16% from the 980,000 reported in 2019/20.
  • As in the previous year, just under two thirds (65%) of fly-tips involved household waste. There were a total of 737,000 incidents involving household waste in 2020/21, an increase of 16% from 635,000 incidents in 2019/20.

Responsibility for fly tipping and powers to require clearance

  • Local authorities are responsible for investigating, clearing and taking appropriate enforcement action in relation to small scale fly-tipping on public land.
  • In England the Environment Agency is responsible for dealing with larger-scale fly-tipping (more than a lorry load), hazardous waste and fly-tipping by organised gangs.
  • On private land, it is normally the responsibility of the landowner to remove the waste.

Local authorities and the Environment Agency have legal powers to require landowners to clear fly-tipped waste from their land. They also have powers to enter the land and clear it and may seek reimbursement for costs related to it. Concern has been raised with Government about the costs involved to private landowners of clearing fly tipped waste from their land. However, in Dorset we are working together as a range of agencies and organisations, to target fly tipping and the associated challenges.

Penalties for fly-tipping

There is currently no minimum fine set out in law for unlawfully depositing waste. Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for the independent courts. There are also a number of other possible penalties, including fixed penalty notices and having a vehicle seized. Householders can be fined up to £400 if they pass their waste to an unlicensed waste carrier which is subsequently fly-tipped.

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