Waste means unwanted or unusable items. Large amounts of waste may be a health risk, cause significant nuisance to neighbours (for example, causing odours and attracting flies), or provide food or shelter for rats.
Homeowners, landlords, and tenants are legally responsible for storing and getting rid of household waste correctly.
Fly tipping or accumulation of waste?
There are different ways to report a problem with waste, so you'll need to make sure you use the right one.
Fly tipping is the deliberate dumping of waste. The waste is brought from elsewhere and abandoned, for example in an alleyway. It often includes rubbish from house renovations, like cupboards, sinks, lumps of brick, etc.
Fly tipping is usually done by companies which offer to take away people's rubbish but do not actually have a licence (called a waste carrier licence).
You can find out more and make a report about fly-tipped waste on the fly tipping page.
Accumulation of waste
A build-up (or 'accumulation') of waste usually involves household rubbish, or foul-smelling or decaying items like food or animal waste. For example, rubbish left on the ground instead of being put into a bin bag, or bin bags left in the garden instead of in the bin. An accumulation is when the waste isn't cleared away in a reasonable time, and over time, the amount increases.
An accumulation of waste happens outside the house of the person responsible for the waste, unlike with fly tipping, where waste is taken elsewhere and abandoned.
You can report an accumulation of waste on this page.
What we can do about accumulations of waste
We have legal powers to deal with waste if it's a serious risk to public health or a serious nuisance.
We can take enforcement action if the waste is causing a nuisance to others because it:
- is not being stored correctly
- is not removed within a reasonable amount of time
The waste must have been building up in a garden or yard for at least 2 weeks. It must also be causing a nuisance (for example, causing odours or attracting rats or flies), or causing harm because of the type, amount, and location of the waste. A missed bin collection does not count as an accumulation of waste.
As well as rubbish, waste also includes household items which are no longer needed and have been left in the open. For example, furniture, mattresses, carpets, and other items. These can attract rats, as well as being very unsightly and blighting the neighbourhood. We can take enforcement action if unwanted household items have been left outside in a garden or yard, and they are causing harm.
It's important to understand that homeowners and tenants have the right to use their land in any way they want. However, this must not cause severe harm to others or the local area.