Answers to some commonly asked questions about fly tipping.
Some useful questions and answers to help you understand your responsibilities for disposing of your waste.
You are fly tipping if you leave waste somewhere it shouldn't be. It is illegal and can carry a fine or in the worst cases a jail term. If you are caught fly tipping WLC can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £200. If the case goes to court, individuals or companies can be fined up to £40 000 or imprisoned for up to five years.
Fly tipping is anti-social and has a negative effect on how people feel about the area they live, not to mention it's criminal, causes pollution and costs a fortune in public money to clean up.
Fly tipping is dumping anything onto public or private land. Fly tipping can be from households or businesses and can include large household items like sofas, mattresses and fridges; hazardous materials like asbestos; bags of mixed waste; rubble and other items from construction; tyres and vehicle parts, but it also includes tipping garden waste over your back fence or into woodland areas, leaving waste on the floor of a communal bin store, leaving bags of donations outside a charity shop or waste at the gates of a Community Recycling Centre when they are closed, leaving waste on the pavement outside your house or anywhere beyond the boundaries of your property.
There is a common misconception that because garden waste is 'natural' it will decompose and disappear if you leave it in woods or bushes. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Garden waste can interfere with natural ecosystems by spreading pests and diseases and introducing garden plants which can out compete native species. Piles of garden waste will smoother native plants and prevent seedling growth.
Grass cuttings can be a particular problem as they are high in nitrogen and phosphorus, increasing nutrients to beyond levels native plants can cope with. Grass clippings getting into waterways like drains, streams and canals can cause blockages and the extra nutrients released as the grass breaks down can cause algal blooms which lower the oxygen levels in the water harming animals and plants. You can be fined for fly tipping garden waste in exactly the same way as you can for fly tipping a mattress, for example.
If you report fly tipping and it is on land owned by WLC, a crew will come to collect it. They will also look for any evidence of where the waste has come from, as this can lead to a Fixed Penalty Notice being issued.
If you know who has dumped the waste you should report this too as your evidence may lead to the dumpers being prosecuted. If the land is not owned by WLC we will endeavour to notify the landowner. WLC cannot clear fly tipping from privately owned land.
We keep records of incidences of fly tipping and this can help to allocate resources in the best way. We can't do this effectively if it is not reported every time.
Fly tipping can be reported using our online form or by calling customer services on 01506 280000
There are two Grounds Maintenance crews who, among other things, collecting fly tipping that is reported to us and is on land owned by WLC. They look for evidence of who has dumped the rubbish and pass this to the Enforcement Officers who can investigate and issue Fixed Penalty Notices. We run periodic anti-fly tipping campaigns through our media channels and in normal (non Covid) times the Education and Engagement Officers visit schools and events to promote the anti-fly tipping message.
There's no excuse for fly tipping!
Bulky uplifts currently cost £35 per 5 items collected. This cost is to cover the collection and disposal of your items, but depending on the weight of the items the cost to the council could be far greater than the £35 you pay. Remember it is your responsibility to dispose of your waste correctly and when buying something new it is always worth factoring in the cost of disposing of the items you are replacing. If you need something collected it might be worth asking neighbours if they do too, then you could split the cost.
Recycling Centres are for household waste only. Cars with trailers and vans can visit a recycling centre if they are disposing only of household waste and book a slot in advance. We ask them to book so we can control traffic flow better, as it takes longer to unload trailers and vans and the skips fill up quicker. WLC does not dispose of commercial waste and as such vans and trailers carrying commercial waste cannot use the recycling centres.
If you are a business producing waste in West Lothian, you need to use a private waste disposal company to collect your waste. You also need to separate your waste for recycling. It is a good idea to check with SEPA to make sure the company you use are a registered waste carrier and can dispose of your waste correctly, otherwise you could be held responsible. You can find more information on our Commercial waste information page