Agenda item

Bulky Waste and Fly Tipping Task Group - Briefing and Presentation

The documents for this item will follow in an Additional Papers pack.


The Chair welcomed the Head of Environmental and Housing Property Services and the Environmental Services Manager who provided a detailed presentation on bulky waste collections and fly tipping in Redditch. During the presentation Members’ attention was drawn to the following:


  • The Council had a legal duty to manage fly-tipping under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and there was also a duty on the Council to provide a Bulky Waste collection service under Section 45 of the Environmental Protection Act.  
  • The Controlled Waste Regulations 1992 gave the Council the ability to charge for the bulky waste collection service, but charges must be ‘reasonable’.
  • Both Local Authorities and the Environment Agency (EA) had powers to tackle fly tipping. However, the Environment Agency (EA) would only become involved with large-scale, hazardous cases of fly tipping.
  • On private land the responsibility for clearance of fly-tipped waste rested with the landowner.
  • Over the three-year period of 2020-2022 there were almost twice as many bulky collections as fly-tips in the Borough.
  • The top fifteen areas with highest incidence of fly tipping in the Borough were outlined and it was noted that Church Hill South had by far the highest incidence at 627 fly tips – for the period January 2020 to December 2022.
  • Officers commented that the design of the neighbourhoods played a role in the incidence of fly tipping, with more fly tips recorded in neighbourhoods with central waste collection points rather than kerbside collection (such as in apartment buildings).
  • The Council held data indicated that the rates of bulky waste collections were consistent across different areas of Redditch Town, but incidence of fly tipping tended to be higher outside high-density residential areas and in areas with large number of short-term tenancies and relatively low numbers of owner-occupiers.
  • Majority of fly tips were linked to individual residents disposing of waste incorrectly rather than ‘man with van’ fly tippers.
  • The costs of removal of fly tipps incurred by the Council were around £122k in 2020/21 and around £100k for the first three quarters of 2021/22. This was based on the full cost of clearance, collection and disposal which was then apportioned to the Council’s data according to the size, type and location of waste.
  • Officers noted that enforcement action through the courts for fly tipping was difficult as it was reliant on either finding the evidence to definitively identify who the waste belonged to or a witness who was willing to become involved in the legal/court proceedings.
  • It was noted that the Council did not carry out enough reactive and proactive enforcement.
  • It was noted that income from bulky waste collections was currently insufficient to cover the total costs of the service.
  • A basic charge for bulky collection at Redditch for 2022/23 was £9.50 per unit and for 2023/24 this would increase to £10.45 per unit. Charges depended on the type of item collected with larger items incurring greater cost. It was highlighted this approach provided residents with flexibility as the cost for disposal was assessed per item. Some authorities charged a flat fee instead, where there was a single fee for 1-3 units collected.
  • Examples were provided of items that the Council’s Bulky Collection team would be unable to collect, such as those items that were not classes as domestic waste by the Worcestershire County Council (WCC). Bulky items not classed as domestic waste could be disposed of via a registered private business that provided a waste collection service - for example, a skip company or household clearance service.
  • It was highlighted that the data held by the Council showed that the majority of fly tips were small, consisting of mainly domestic waste/materials/items. Also, the areas of the Borough where most fly-tips were concentrated did not generally change.
  • Data analysis undertaken by the BBC in 2019, found no connection between the areas with the highest charges for waste collection and the highest rates of fly-tipping.
  • The research also showed no clear link between the fee charged for bulky waste removal and the amount of waste that actually gets tipped.


Following the presentation, a detailed discussion took place and Members made a number of observations and asked questions to which the following responses were provided:


  • Members queried why rubble and garden waste was not collected as part of bulky waste collection service and Officers explained that this was due to arrangements that existed with the County Council which determined that lower-tier authorities would be charged commercial rates if they collected such items as part of bulky collection service. It was highlighted also that collecting such items would require the Council to invest in upgrading the vehicles used for the service and that residents were able to dispose of large amount of garden waste/rubble either themselves or through a registered waste removal operator, at the Household Recycling Centre at Park Farm.
  • In terms of street cleaning standards and the turnaround times in responding to fly tipping incidents, it was noted that the Council did not have a legal duty to clean roads and streets at a set frequency. Normally the worst affected areas would be prioritised for street cleaning by the Council. There was, however, a requirement for the Council to keep roads and open spaces under its control free of litter and refuse as far as practicable.
  • Members asked if a leaflet was available for council tenants that outlined tenants’ responsibilities for waste disposal and recycling. Officers undertook to investigate this matter and report back.
  • It was explained that before the Council could deploy covert cameras for surveillance of fly tipping, an application had to be made under Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) providing evidence of the problem and justifying the need for covert measures. When cameras were deployed with signage informing the public that the area was monitored the exact location of the camera could still be hidden.
  • Officers explained that the challenge in monitoring fly tipping was the great number of locations where it occurred – deploying monitoring at such multitude of locations would be impossible from a practical as well as resources perspective.
  • Officers explained that the statistics for incidence as well as type of fly-tipping in the Borough were taken from the Council’s PDMS system for Environmental Services and that the main source for this data was reporting by residents and bin crew.
  • Officers reported that the Environment Agency (EA) investigated major illegal fly-tipping incidents that occurred on public or private land. In the time period of January 2020 to December 2022 there were no fly-tipping incidents that were of scale to require EA investigation in Redditch and there was one investigation by EA in Bromsgrove.
  • The full annual costs of clearance of fly-tips in the Borough were in the region of £100k for January – December 2021.
  • It was suggested by some Members that the advantages and disadvantages of launching mobile household recycling centres in the Borough should be investigated by the Bulky Waste and Fly Tipping Task Group. It was noted that there were examples of other authorities, such as Birmingham City Council, operating this scheme.
  • Officers commented that there were risks that needed to be considered with the mobile household recycling scheme such as the difficulty in monitoring for issues such as the possibility of businesses and traders trying to take advantage of this scheme to dispose of commercial waste. It was also highlighted that reports from similar schemes elsewhere highlighted that staff could be put in difficult and contentious situations when large numbers of people turned up and tried to dispose of waste.
  • Some Members commented that problems highlighted by Officers could be overcome through appropriate messaging and pre-advertising of the mobile household recycling scheme stops, with the information clearly stating what people could and could not bring to the mobile recycling pop-up centres.
  • Officers noted that most fly tips recorded in the Borough were small, a mainly due to minor breaches of waste bin rules. For example, where residents had put small items next to their grey bins which they thought the bin workers could take separately.
  • It was noted that many of the hotspot areas where there was a high occurrence of fly tipping were places with high number of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
  • Officers suggested that the Task Group could be supplied with data to investigate hotspots at the street level and identify strategies as to how reach out with the message on correct waste disposal to residents in those hotspots.
  • It was noted that interviews undertaken by enforcement officers with fly tipping offenders would not usually be recorded and the purpose was more to discuss the issue with those found offending following their first offence.
  • It was noted that the statistical release on fly-tipping incidents recorded by Local Authorities in England from April 2021 to March 2022 had just been released and this served as a main benchmark in terms of identifying root causes and trends in fly-tipping.




1)    the minutes recorded for this agenda item and the presentation on bulky waste and fly tipping provided by Officers at this meeting, be used as a starting documentation for the Bulky Waste and Fly Tipping Task Group.


2)    the following proposed areas of investigation be considered for inclusion in the Terms of Reference of the Bulky Waste and Fly Tipping Task Group:


·       Mobile household recycling centres – advantages and disadvantages

·       Consideration of introducing single-tier pricing for bulky waste collections

·       Consideration of how to identify fly tip hotspots and offer appropriate actions to target fly-tipping in these areas.


Supporting documents: