'Zero Tolerance' needed on London Fly Tipping as GMB study shows more than 360,000 incidents in 2019/20

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Local authorities need to up their game as GMB Union data shows less than half incidents resulted in a call out

A new study of the latest official data by GMB, the union for refuse and street cleaning workers, shows that the 34 borough councils in the London took 157,220 actions to deal with 360,080 fly-tipping incidents recorded in the region for 2019/20.

Actions on fly-tipping by councils include: warning letters, statutory notices, fixed penalty notices, formal cautions, stop and search, vehicle seizures, injunctions, prosecutions. Overall across the region councils took 157,220 actions. This is fewer than half of all incidents across the region.

GMB is calling for a uniform policy, across London councils, of punishing cowboy builders identified fly-tipping to confiscate their vehicles. This would send the right message. 

The study shows that in terms of the number of actions per fly tipping incidents there is a huge variation.  In certain boroughs, such as Camden, Waltham Forest and Wandsworth, there were more actions than there were fly-tipping incidents.

The most actions overall were taken by Camden, Brent and Croydon Councils, while at the other end of the scale were Kingston Upon Thames, Islington and the City of London.

Set out in the table below are the figures for the 34 London Borough Councils, as ranked by the number of actions per fly tipping incident.


Table: Fly-tipping incidents and actions reported by London Borough Councils 2019-20.

Local Authority Fly Tipping Reported Incidents % difference on 2018/2019 (incidents) Total Actions Prosecutions Actions Costs (£)
London  360,080 11%  157,220  368,829
Camden  34,465 34%  40,457  
Brent  34,197 43%  5,891  319,200
Croydon  25,532 15%  2,660  8,750
Haringey  22,972 8%  576  3,653
Hounslow  22,480 3%  3,253  
Redbridge*  19,897    7,560  3,250
Southwark  17,872 24%  2,654  
Westminster  15,283 2%  5,734  
Hammersmith and Fulham  13,322 -21%  1,352  
Ealing  13,115 5%  6,791  
Merton  13,047 14%  4,737  17,500
Hackney  12,190 -10%  1,316  860
Greenwich  11,795 -26%  822  3,393
Harrow  11,151 -18%  553  3,050
Newham  11,145 -24%  1,724  3,200
Hillingdon  10,434 -2%  2,695  
Waltham Forest  9,260 -2%  14,355  1,000
Tower Hamlets  7,365 -20%  6,553  
Lambeth  6,638 23%  1,823  
Kensington and Chelsea  6,490 -5%  6,692  380
Enfield  4,979 -4%  6,317  
Wandsworth  4,745 -12%  14,617  
Lewisham  3,842 8%  1,269  
Sutton  3,823 21%  985  
Barking and Dagenham  3,794 31%  157  
Barnet  3,420 58%  1,869  
Havering  3,380 -15%  5,744  
Richmond upon Thames  2,887 -20%  1,208  
Bromley  2,821 -11%  211  693
Bexley  2,552 19%  102  
City of London  1,804 20%  2,255  
Islington  1,764 23%  3,806  3,900
Kingston upon Thames   1,619 2%  482  

*Redbridge did not provide data for 2018/19 before publication of results in November 2019


Justin Bowden, GMB Southern Regional Secretary, said: "Government and local councils have to be more proactive in dealing with fly tipping incidents. The data for 2019/20 shows far too much variation in the numbers of actions councils take in response to fly tipping incidents. Some councils take far too little action. Many councils need to up their game on dealing with fly tipping and fly tippers.

“There needs to be better education on the costs of dealing with the problem and how people can dispose of rubbish and unwanted items properly.  

“Councils must invest in easy to access recycling and disposal facilities for residents to use and offer accessible collection schemes for bulk items. Recent restrictions on using recycling centres due to the pandemic in terms of capacity and access without bookings need to be rolled back. They must not become permanent or make access to them more difficult.  

“Finally, councils have to firmly clamp down on fly tipping by larger fines, investment in surveillance equipment and rigorous investigation of incidents and follow up action. Some councils have a poor record on this which encourages an attitude of impunity. A uniform policy, across London of punishing cowboy builders identified fly-tipping to confiscate their vehicles would send the right message. 

“We need a policy of zero tolerance with action against fly tipping on all fronts at all times.” 


Media enquiries: GMB Southern Press Office on 07866441656 or at

Notes to Editors:

Table is Fly-tipping incidents and actions reported by local authorities 2019-20,

Sources for the data are Defra and WasteDataFlow