Rubbish accumulation on private land

Rubbish accumulated on private land can be unsightly, or may cause a nuisance (for example a smell). It can also be a public health risk by attracting rats, or even cause further dumping.

In such cases the owner or occupier of the land is responsible for removing of any rubbish. Environmental Health officers will visit the land and try to work together with the owner or occupier to get the rubbish removed, if there has been a complaint.

If this is not successful, the owner or occupier of the land can be served with a legal notice requiring them to remove the rubbish within a certain period of time. If they do not comply, the Council can make arrangements for the rubbish to be removed and the costs incurred recovered from the person on whom the notice is served. Costs recovered will include an administration fee. In some circumstances the Council will also consider prosecution.

Dealing with alleyways

If you have a problem with waste accumulations on a private service road or in an alleyway at the rear or side of your home, then the responsibility for keeping the land clean rests with the land owner.

In cases where the owner is not traceable, you are responsible along with your neighbours for rectifying it. You should speak with the other residents to try and resolve it. (Public Health Act 1936 section 78)

Depositing waste on land

It is an offence to allow waste to be deposited on land; unless it is a registered waste site licensed by the Environment Agency Environmental Protection Act 1990 (section 33(b)).

Bulky waste in your home, what to do?

Spelthorne Borough Council is working in partnership with the Surrey Reuse Network to collect bulky waste (furniture or large electrical items) from across the borough. Please ring 0800 0820 180 (press option 3) to receive a quote and arrange a date for collection.

Alternatively, you can take the waste to the Charlton Lane Community Recycling Centre (tip). You will need to bring something to proof that you are a Spelthorne Borough resident.

Overgrown gardens

In general, overgrown private gardens do not affect public health even though they are unsightly and untidy. The Council cannot require the vegetation to be trimmed back unless it encroaches over public space, and becomes a nuisance or a hazard to the public. However, if there are evidence pests such as rats are sheltering within the undergrowth, then the land owner would need to take appropriate steps to eradication the infestation.

If the vegetation encroaches over the boundary onto neighbouring land, the affected property owner can cut off the vegetation over the boundary line, and pass it back to the overgrown site. In such situations the Council do not get involved as they are civil matters to be resolved privately.

It should be noted that if there are bird nests, eggs or other wild animals on the vegetation, these must not be disturbed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.