Opinion: District councillor Steve Albon – Preventing the rise of fly-tipping in Thanet

Flytip at Broadstairs Recycling Centre

Staying home these last eight weeks may have given residents the opportunity to think about their garden and home makeovers, but where is some of this makeover waste going?

Whilst the vast majority of residents have behaved responsibly and not dumped their waste during the coronavirus outbreak, some people have not done the right thing. As a result, a lot of waste has made its way onto the streets, roads, alley-ways and pavements of Thanet. In April 2019, there were 199 reported fly-tips compared to April 2020 which saw 304.

Residents can report fly-tipping using this online form.

As Cabinet Member for Operational Services, I am asking people to try and limit spring cleaning and to try and reduce the amount of waste your household produces.

There’s nothing wrong with a spring makeover while you have the time to do it. However, it’s what you then do with the extra waste which is vitally important. Fly-tipping is illegal and can lead to a £400 fixed penalty notice or a criminal prosecution.

Pegwell near the Nature Reserve

Investigating and then clearing fly-tips cost the council £175,000 last year and this diverts resources away from keeping the rest of the district clean, including emptying litter bins, which we know is something that people really care about.”

Crispe Road in Birchington

For those who are unsure how to dispose of waste responsibly and want to avoid hefty fines and court cases, the council has the following tips:

Fort Crescent Margate
  • Use a registered kerbside collection service and keep a dated record of use
  • Only use a licenced waste carrier and do a quick check on the Environment Agency website www.GOV.UK to find a licenced waste carrier. A legitimate waste operator will be happy to show you their licence. Be suspicious and wary of anyone who will only take cash payments or who advertises on social media sites
  • Book bulky waste collection – a council run service –  by calling 01843 577115 https://www.thanet.gov.uk/online-services/bulky-waste-collection/
  • Kent County Council has reopened the Household Waste and Recycling Centres in Margate. This will only be accessible to those who have a pre-booked appointment, made online or over the phone. Find out about how to book a slot on KCC’s website.
  • Check which local charities will collect items that can be reused, upcycled and resold. British Heart Foundation www.bhf.org.uk, British Red Cross www.redcross.org.uk, Cancer Research UK www.cancerresearchuk.org and Shelter www.england.shelter.org.uk.

As the weather improves, those who are lucky enough to have a garden will spend more time outside. The Royal Horticultural Society has given the following advice:

  • Use a compost bin, make a compost heap from plant materials and kitchen waste that won’t attract rats
  • Avoid bonfires
  • Bury soft garden waste when digging over empty plots
  • Leave woody prunings in a safe, neat pile out the way in your garden for wildlife to use
  • Use grass cutting to mulch around trees and plants, or cut short and leave clippings to disappear back into the grass.

If you have the space, you could let a mini meadow grow, and sit back and watch the wildlife enjoy your garden. You can even make a record of the visiting wildlife.

For those of you with children at home, you could try and make or buy a wormery. As part of a renewed interest in composting, we have identified a supplier that sells composters and is offering their product to residents at a discount. If you are interested in how you can compost your food and garden waste, you can learn more here.

We are here to help, advise and support residents so if you have any questions, please email: [email protected].


  1. The problem has increased partly to Kent County council last year charging people to use the tips in to remove rubble and soil. Prosecution levels are very low unfortunately due to how difficult it is to prove guilt. Good luck steve in your efforts to eradicate this criminal activity.

  2. Years ago I used to be famous for bringing more back from the tip than I took! We turned an old pram into a go kart, our garden furniture was a higgledy piggledy mix of odd chairs and tables repainted in cheerful colours every year and my children enjoyed making ‘things’ out of odd bits of wood . There is a tv programme where pieces destined for the skip are transformed, sold and a charity benefits from the profit. Steve, could we let one or two of the very large number of locally unemployed but talented and willing to work hard residents have a couple of containers at the skip running a small business doing something similar. Then we would only throw away stuff that was complete rubbish.

    • Lol i used to bring more back from the tip than i took many years ago , i carnt say i used it for charity but was bought up that charity begins at home, naughty me, The same as many bin men used to sell the items at boot sales , Some items were just too good to bin, The law was changed that any item taken from a tip was classed as theft, Bin mens cabs were randlomery searched and if items were found they lost their job.

  3. Rather than punish people for flytipping and pay fortunes to clear up the mess, why not incentivise people to use the recycling centres by issuing Council Tax discount vouchers for properly disposing of recyclable material? Vouchers for, say, £5, for a carload would pay the cost of the petrol to take a car load in – and to sort it properly. The stick approach has never really worked. Perhaps it’s time to try a carrot for a change.

  4. I can’t understand why the tips have shut. The guys working wear gloves, generally don’t come near the “tippers” and the tippers could quite easily have been limited to say 10 cars at a time. Social distancing at the skips/bins could be done very simply Don’t think I’ve ever been near enough to anyone at the top to have caught any infection and I’ve been a lot! Quite simply I think KCC/Govt has made this problem of their own making. Probably the people making the decisions seldom if ever use the facilities themselves Now we have the pent up waste from 10 weeks of gardening and decorating which will take weeks if not months to clear once they open.

  5. The picture of the mess in Broad stairs is nothing new as anyone who uses this car park knows,it has been like this for years,so we cannot blame the current restrictions for this if the council was less greedy and reduced or abolished charges maybe this may not happen.

    • TDC have zero interest is clearing the filthy mess from Surrey Road and a month after reporting a fridge/freezer, a setee and other rubbish on the pavement with a huge camper van with wheels on the pavement restricting the pavement further still, the mess is still there today.

      Fly tipping is a nice little earner for TDC – the biggest blight on Thanet is TDC.

  6. Reading Councillor Albon’s comments you would think the Isle was nice and clean and tidy up until fairly recently. The truth is that Thanet has been getting increasingly filthy year on year. Missed bin collections, mounds of dog poo on top of bins and litter constantly lining our streets.

    As Portfolio Holder, my question to Councillor Albon is what are you going to do about it? How are you intending to hold the senior management to account? I ask the question as this will never happen at senior manager level due to reasons that have been well documented locally.

    The Council Tax goes up year on year and Thanet just gets dirtier and dirtier. To paint it as a recent phenomenon is completely misleading.

  7. Just stop greedy council from charging to tip rubbish at the tip….. They charge to tip rubble, its the most easiest material to recycle… If they have to make charges.. Charge to tip none recyclable items then people will be more mindful of what they chuck out…. But to be honest untill they stop charging people to get rid of there waste, some people will tip it on side of the road.. Its a sad fact encourage people to come and recycle there rubbelish at the proper place instead of charging them to tip there rubbish… Surely the cost over a year to send out council workers to clean up streets is more than what they make at tip charging them to tip rubbish Its a no brainer

    • The problem is Alan that KCC run the tips and take the money from people getting rid of building rubble etc. TDC are responsible for cleaning up much of the fly tipping that then happens locally as it is under their jurisdiction. So, in a fantastic example of joined up thinking, there is no offsetting of costs or money. It’s two different tiers of local government who are only interested in their own purse strings.

    • Alan G missed out the fact that we all pay council tax and the only visible service is a bin collection service.
      TDC is bloated with middle management intent on building their staff numbers and have no interest in providing public services.

      How about using a rubble crusher and charging the builders for it, a local demolition company does very nicely doing this and even buys in rubble. What was a daily sight before charging came in was builders bringing in trailers to offload rubble rather than paying for it to be taken away.

  8. Caught people that leave over the road in Clements rd dragging big bag of garden waste outside our bin cupboard in our block of flats .put it back and the found they had put to bag and emptied it all over the floor. Wind was making it bloods all over the rd and our garden told the council they are now doing case.

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