- Because fly-tipping can be environmentally damaging
- Because landlords can be left with removal and damage costs
- Because combatting fly tipping and squatting is vital
During the course of the pandemic, according to Clearwaste.com fly tipping increased by over 75%. Council data suggests that this trend was on the rise even before then, however, with 55,000 fly tipping incidents from 2019 to 2020.
Vacant, and partially vacant, buildings have now become an easy target for fly-tipping, which can lead to property owners facing disruption, and large cleaning and disposal costs.
There have been many cases where the fly tippers force entry and operate the site as a tip, by disposing of their own waste or charging a fee for others to use the site for waste disposal.
Another type of operation is where waste has been processed and transported to store illegally in a vacant building.
This article aims to show some of the problems fly tipping and squatting causes, and ways in which to prevent this type of illegal activity from happening on your land.
Why is fly tipping a big issue for private landowners?
Fly tipping can occur through the operation of illegal waste disposal services for money. Not only is it illegal, but it is also environmentally damaging, as well as damaging to people, and expensive to legally dispose of. The Environment Agency only clears waste when it is an immediate risk to the environment and human health, they are not funded to clear waste that has been dumped illegally on public or private land.
If squatters have left waste on a commercial property that they have taken over, or someone has fly tipped onto private land, costs and removal becomes the responsibility of the landowner.
Huge costs occur as a result of damage, and clean up, after squatters illegally occupy commercial premises. The National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group (NFTPG) estimate that fly tipping on private land costs between £50 million and £150 million a year to clean up.
The legal fees for removing a squatter and the cleaning bill to cover rubbish clearance and the change of locks can be huge. Another thing to account for is the potential loss of rent and alternative accommodation when squatters are present.
The reason for the high cleaning bill that follows fly tipping and squatting, is due to the waste potentially including asbestos, harmful chemicals, flammables, oils, and biological waste that can seriously damage the environment if not treated and disposed of professionally.
Tips to Combat fly tipping and squatting
- Make sure all door and window locks are checked regularly and secure, as well as site gates. Having temporary shutters or additional heavy-duty locks are also an effective security measure to combat squatters.
- Can access to the site be prevented? – The site may need fences and gates erected, or barriers in place to stop access. To pretend access via vehicle, natural barriers such as trees, banks of earth, and logs and rocks are useful.
- Regular inspections are vital – Landowners must carry out checks regularly, both internally and externally. Large companies may want to consider on-site or mobile security.
- Make sure CCTV and intruder alarms are functioning – These act as a deterrent for fly tippers and squatters. Businesses should have a SIA CCTV licence.
It is important to check your insurance cover – Cover for fly tipping and squatting varies in the market. Speaking to a broker is important to help customers understand what is and isn’t covered under their policy.