Fly-tipping is the unauthorised disposal of waste on private or council-owned land. Even dumping bags of household waste in the wrong place counts as fly-tipping.

You are also fly-tipping if you leave waste beside street bins, or outside your property.

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence under section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The depositing of litter is a criminal offence under section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Investigations may lead to us issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice of £400. We may decide to prosecute. The maximum court penalty is an unlimited fine and/or a 5-year custodial sentence.

Help us catch fly-tippers

You can report fly-tipping to the council via our website, call centre or via the Love Clean Reading app. Please include a detailed description of the location and type of waste.

You can also report a fly-tip here.

What you need to tell us when you report fly-tipping

  • The exact location
  • A description of the items

If possible, please also include:

  • A description of the person or people who were fly-tipping
  • A description of the vehicle used
  • Any surveillance, dash-cam footage or photos

The evidence you give will help with our investigations. We may ask witnesses to give a formal signed witness statement. We will pass this to our legal team and it could be evidence in court. If a case goes to court a witness may have to attend count.

Impact of fly-tipping

Fly-tipping can have a negative impact on people’s day-to-day lives. Whilst affecting the local environment, it can also impact local business and property values. It can also have a negative influence on residents’ quality of life, and how they feel about their home, street or town.

Fly-tipped waste can attract pests or can cause pollution. This could pose as a health risk or danger to locals.

How to reduce fly-tipping

It is most important you dispose of your waste correctly. By law, residents and businesses must ensure the safe and correct disposal of unwanted items. If we find your waste fly-tipped, we may fine you.

The Environment Agency licenses waste carriers. Approved carriers will show you their licence and tell you where they are taking your waste. They will also give you paperwork to show they are taking over the responsibility for your waste. If you pay an unlicensed individual to remove your waste, you may still be liable for prosecution if your waste is fly-tipped.

You can check the company’s waste carrier licence number on the Environment Agency’s online register of waste carriers

Alternatively, Reading residents can take any household waste to the tip or use our bulky waste collection service.

What we will do

We take a pro-active approach to tackling fly-tipping and littering within the borough. Our Recycling and Enforcement Team also offer waste management advice for local businesses and residents.

How we investigate fly-tips

We aim to investigate most reports of fly-tipping on the public highway within 5 working days. We may also investigate waste dumped on private land, but we prioritise the public highway.

If there are witnesses or evidence for the fly-tipping we will investigate further. This may lead to us issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice of £400.

If we prosecute perpetrators, then the Maximum Court Penalty is an unlimited fine and/or a 5-year custodial sentence.

Waste on private land

The council does not have a duty to clear any waste deposits from private or unadopted land. Landowners are responsible for clearing their land themselves. Sometimes the council may contact the landowner to tell them to arrange a clearance.