Lithium battery fires

Lithium batteries have caused fires in the rubbish lorries. Please do not put batteries in your waste or recycling bin. All batteries (including lithium batteries from e-bikes and e-scooters and other re-chargeable devices) can be taken to the Reuse and Recycling Centre at Northumberland Wharf.

Litter, flytipping and enforcement

In Tower Hamlets we all want to enjoy safe clean streets.

However, fly-tipping is a growing problem in the borough, with the council spending more than £690,000 a year on the removal and disposal of illegally dumped waste. The number of reported incidents of fly-tipping has increased from 4,555 in 2015/16 to 9,228 in 2018/19.

In January 2019, the council made the decision to increase the fixed penalty notice (FPN) for flytipping to £400 from £80 – with no early payment discount. 

The previous £80 fine – reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days – was the same penalty that was faced by those who dropped litter. The new levels reflect the more serious and costly nature of flytipping.

If you need help with enforcement due to irresponsible behaviour by others please contact us and ask someone from our Environmental Services Team to visit you.

Reporting a flytip

Please don't:

  • touch the waste - it may contain syringes, toxic chemicals or other hazardous substances
  • disturb the site - there may be evidence that could help identify the fly-tippers and lead to their prosecution

Please do:

  • visually try to work out what the waste consists of and how much there is
  • take note of the day, date, time and exact location

If you see someone fly-tipping, take note of:

  • how many people are involved and what they look like 
  • what has been tipped - how much and what it looks like 
  • details of any vehicles involved including make, colour and registration number if possible

Be very careful. Remember that flytippers are doing something illegal and do not want to be caught – they are unlikely to welcome people observing them. Do not approach them or put your own safety at risk.

Report a flytip or dumped rubbish

Have we missed you?

Your vital communication with the council allows us to maintain and manage our services and our contractor’s performance effectively.

Step 1

Have you reported the missed service on 020 7364 5000, to our contact centre? Your request will be passed on to the contractor.

Step 2

If your requested service has been missed again, please redial 0207 364 5000 to report again. Your call will be logged with a stage 1 priority.

Step 3

If we still continue to miss your required services, please call again on 0207 364 5000. Your call will be allocated a stage 2 priority. This is the highest service level escalation within our procedures where it will be allocated to the contractor as well as trigger of a back office investigation. The investigation ensures penalties are applied where services have failed.

If you have exhausted the above, you can make a complaint.

How you can get involved

Find it, Fix it Team

The Find it, Fix it service will tackle eyesores across the borough. In rapid response vehicles, the teams identify and fix problems such as littering, graffiti, fly posting, overhanging vegetation and fly tipping. Residents can report problems, including littering, for the Find it, Fix it team via Streetline on 020 7364 5004.

Volunteering and community clear-ups

You can register to be a Clean and Green volunteer and find out about other volunteering opportunities with the council. 

The council's commitment to reducing litter

Litter is unsightly, illegal and can be dangerous. To assist you to get rid of items responsibly and reduce litter on the streets, we provide litter bins on public highway locations across the borough.  These are regularly emptied by our street cleansing contractor.

The maximum fine for littering is £2,500. An offence is committed if someone throws down, drops or otherwise deposits anything in any place (including over water) that is open to the air and to which the public have access. Cigarette butts and chewing gum are defined as litter as well as other items commonly dropped such as sweet wrappers and newspapers.

Anyone seen littering in the street may be issued with a fixed penalty notice (FPN) of £80 by a Street Care Team Officer.  The FPN is issued so that you may discharge your liability for prosecution by paying the penalty and knowing you will not receive a criminal record. However, if you do not pay the FPN, the case will go to court.

See what what ones of our enforcement officers does each day to help keep the borough clean:


Flytipping (dumping rubbish on a street or other area) is an offence which carries a maximum penalty of up to £50,000, or for very serious offences, a fine of up to five years in prison, or both. It is also an offence to allow someone to fly-tip on your land or if a vehicle registered to you is used to fly-tip, the owner is ultimately responsible.

We keep the streets safer and cleaner by removing tips of rubbish that have been dumped on public land, roads and pavements.  We aim remove reported flytips by the end of the next working day. However, if the tip is very large or contains hazardous materials, this has to be reported to the back office for investigation. If so, this may take a little longer to deal with.

Fly-tips on private land should be dealt with by the land owner.

In addition to removing fly-tips from public land we try to trace the origin of the waste and may take enforcement action.

How to make sure you don’t fly tip

Residents can find out about their recycling, waste and bulky waste collections.

Businesses in Tower Hamlets must ensure they have a contract with a registered waste carrier. If you are disposing of business waste at a tip or landfill, then you will have to pay a gate fee and the site must be licensed to take commercial waste.  Tower Hamlets Council offer businesses a collection service via a contract with Veolia Environmental Services, find out more.

Residents and businesses can drop off rubbish or recycle a wide range of materials at the Reuse and Recycling Centre.