Good news on fly-tipping as DIY waste charges scrapped

Farmers and landowners plagued by fly-tipping have welcomed the UK government’s decision to scrap charges to dispose of DIY waste at council recycling centres, which will come into effect from 1 January 2024.

From this date, householders will no longer have to pay to get rid of certain waste items at household waste recycling centres (HWRC). 

About a third of local authorities still charge up to £10 for disposing of individual items of DIY household waste, such as rubble or sheets of plasterboard.

See also: What to do if you’re a victim of… fly-tipping

Since the charges were introduced, private landowners say they have been plagued by fly-tipping as householders decide to dump the rubbish rather than paying the charge. 

Similarly, waste cowboys who are paid by householders to dispose of their DIY waste, choose to dump it on farmland to avoid council charges. 

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which has been campaigning for tougher measures to crack down on illegal fly-tipping on farms, welcomed the changes. 

CLA president Victoria Vyvyan said: “This is good news for those residents who use recycling centres where local authorities still charge, and also for farmers who end up bearing the brunt of illegal fly-tipped materials dumped in their land. 

“There are one million incidents of fly-tipping reported every year, and it has a massive impact on the environment, wildlife and crops, as well as on the farmers who have to pay to clear it up.” 

Dropping the waste disposal charges would make it cheaper and easier for householders to get rid of their waste legally, but police must also deal with criminal gangs dumping waste illegally, added Mrs Vyvyan.

Following the removal of charges, councils including Buckinghamshire County Council have decided to introduce digital e-permits for DIY waste and limits on the number of loads that can be dumped each week. Residents are advised to check their local council websites for updates. 

‘Fantastic news’ – Bucks farmer

Richard Heady, a mixed farmer based near Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, said: “I think scrapping the charges is fantastic news. From now on, hopefully, we will not be having mattresses and sofas dumped in gateways. 

“But it is not going to help much with items like hazardous asbestos materials which are often dumped in fields.” 

Fly-tipping and waste crime is estimated to cost the economy £924m a year in England. But this figure does not include the estimated £50m plus which landowners spend each year disposing of waste illegally dumped on their land.

Local authorities also complain that the removal of charges for disposing of specialist waste items will cost them millions in revenue.