Devon fly-tipping crisis as illegal dumping incidents increase

Torridge District Council is grappling with a persistent fly-tipping problem. The authority received 42 reports of illegally dumped waste from January to May 2024 which includes household waste, building rubble, domestic white goods, and clothes – around the same number for the same period last year. Torridge District Council received 82 fly tipping reports/enquiries in total for 2023.

Fly-tipping is the removal of waste from premises with the deliberate aim of depositing it unlawfully on land without permission. It is a serious offence and is punishable by a fine of up to £50,000- or 12-months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates Court.

According to Keep Britain Tidy around a million fly-tipping incidents are reported in England every year and is one of top environmental challenges faced by many local authorities. Torridge District Council officers regularly investigate reports of fly tipping and are eager to pursue individuals or companies that flagrantly deposit waste illegally and disregard the environment.

Whilst information can sometimes be obtained from deposited waste that leads to a possible perpetrator, it is extremely helpful to receive details from individuals that witness someone fly tipping. If readers do witness such an event, Torridge District Council would be grateful to hear from you with the following information:

· Date and Time the fly tipping was seen

· Exact location (mobile apps can assist with this)

· Details of items deposited and quantity

· Details of the person(s) depositing the waste

· Details of the vehicle used by the person(s) to deposit the waste including make, model, colour, registration, and any distinguishing features (e.g. business name)

The above information can be reported via the Council’s website at All cases are treated with strict confidentiality.

Sean Kearney, head of communities and place at Torridge District Council said: “Fly tipping is a planned waste crime which is done for the sake of convenience, but at a considerable cost to the local community. It is more than an unsightly nuisance and a bit of dumped waste for the council to clear.

“Each case can involve an environmental health officer, waste operatives, vehicles, and a customer services officer – so the costs can be considerable. We would strongly urge residents to report any cases and warn anyone planning to dump their rubbish illegally that these cases will be thoroughly investigated and pursued.”