Local environmental quality

Guidance for local authorities and other land managers in England on maintaining local environmental quality.

Applies to England

Litter and refuse

Local authorities must keep ‘relevant land’ clear of litter and refuse. During the summer, relevant land includes beaches used for swimming or bathing.


Both the Environment Agency and local authorities have powers to tackle fly-tipping.

The Environment Agency investigates:

  • larger scale fly-tipping incidents involving more than a lorryload of waste
  • any amount of hazardous waste
  • fly-tipping by organised gangs.

Local authorities are responsible for investigating and clearing up the smaller scale fly-tipping on public land.

Landowners are responsible for clearing fly-tipped waste on private land.

The Environment Agency keeps a register of people licensed to transport waste.

Fly-tipping statistics

Defra publishes annual fly-tipping statistics for England drawn from Flycapture, the national database set up by Defra, the Environment Agency and the Local Government Association. Flycapture records the incidents of fly-tipping and the cost of clearing and enforcing to local authorities and the Environment Agency.

The latest statistics show that local authorities reported around 852,000 cases of fly-tipping in England in 2013/14 and that the Environment Agency dealt with a further 137 illegal waste dumping incidents.

National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group

Government takes a lead in promoting a partnership approach to tackling the problem by chairing and co-ordinating the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group (NFTPG).

The NFTPG brings together interested parties including:

  • private landowners
  • local authority representatives
  • the Environment Agency
  • the police

The NFTPG produces guidance and provides links with similar initiatives in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Dog Control Orders

Local authorities can no longer make Dog Control Orders. They should use powers under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to control irresponsible dog ownership.

Existing Dog Control Orders will stay in effect until 20 October 2017, unless they’re replaced by Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) before then. Local authorities can use them in a similar way to dog control orders, to stop antisocial behaviour such as dog fouling in a public place.

Parish councils can still change existing dog control orders.

Other local environment quality problems

Local authorities and other land managers also have powers and responsibilities concerning:


Fixed penalties provide enforcement agencies, including local authorities, parish councils and national park authorities, with an effective way of responding to some environmental crimes.

Any person authorised to issue fixed penalty notices on behalf of a parish council must also have attended an approved training course.

Published 9 April 2013
Last updated 9 June 2015 + show all updates
  1. Updated statistics (from 2012-13 to 2013-14) for fly-tipping. Replaced links to archived content with links to current guidance.

  2. Fly-tipping Partnership Framework document has now been published, linked to document.

  3. Flytipping section updated to detail Environment Agency's role in fly-tipping.

  4. First published.