Wimbledon need the wombles as fly tipping revealed to cost council £250,000 a year


Measures have been put in place but some residents are still unhappy.


By Sarah Williams

Fly tippers are costing Merton Council around £250,000 per year by dumping rubbish illegally on public highways.

But despite the council’s latest campaign warning offenders they could face a £50,000 fine and a six-month prison term, some residents are still unhappy with the council’s effectiveness in cleaning up the rubbish.

Rob Palmer-Williams, 38, owner of children’s play centre Tots Landing in Wimbledon’s Broadway Court, said:  “When it comes to clearing up fly tipping, the council aren’t good –at least as far as the rates we pay.

“In the past we’ve had to wait a good week or two weeks for them to clear the mess.”

But he added: “In general we have less of a problem with sofas being fly-tipped then we do with Friday and Saturday night revellers leaving their cans and bottles.”

Rubbish clearance in London has been a problem consistently over the years.

Resident Ray Langley wrote on Merton Council’s Facebook page that fly-tipped rubbish reported over a weekend had still not been cleared two days later.

“It’s now Tuesday evening and the rubbish is gradually spreading as the elderly and young children trip and slip on it,” Mr Langley wrote last month.

“I bet if I lived in Wimbledon Village it would be gone by now!”

Asked about the delays, a Merton Council spokeswoman said that the council aim to remove waste from the public highway within one working day.

She said: “Initially an enforcement officer will visit and investigate the site to collect evidence for any prosecution.  

“If fly-tips contain hazardous waste such as asbestos then a specialist contractor is brought in to take it away which can delay removal.”

A key focus of the council’s current campaign is to alert the public to the existence of rogue traders who offer a waste removal service but then fly-tip.

Legislation means that the council can prosecute both the person who illegally dumped the waste and the person who paid them to collect and dispose of their rubbish.

There have been four prosecutions since April this year with varying fines.  

The council’s spokeswoman said: “We want to raise awareness that residents should question who is offering to take away their waste to stop these rogue traders fly-tipping in the first place and ensure they don’t end up getting a fine.”

Residents should check waste collectors are licensed and registered with the Environment Agency by calling 03708 506 506 or visiting

They should also request a transfer note as a receipt and retain it for two years.

To report incidents of fly-tipping in Merton please visit

Photo courtesy of by Alan Stanton, with thanks.

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