The new year is in full swing, and many homeowners are getting ready for a big spring clean of their homes. For those of us who have a large amount of clutter or garden waste to remove, it’s a good idea to hire a skip for speed and ease. However, there are various rules and regulations for homeowners to be aware of before using a skip - or face fines of up to £5,000.
Placing a skip on a public road without correct permissions, using other people’s skips to dispose of your waste, or overloading your skip are all surefire ways to land yourself with a fine.
MyBuilder.com, the reliable way for homeowners to hire tradespeople, has put together a guide to using skips without risking falling foul of the law.
Andy Simms, one of MyBuilder.com’s tradesperson experts, said there are many dos and don’ts to skip hire that are not common knowledge.
“Hiring a skip is the usual way for homeowners to quickly and easily remove general household waste. On top of that, they can be essential when doing any larger works on your property, such as garden landscaping or bathroom replacements.
“But if you don’t follow the rules - or if you decide to make use of someone else’s skip - you could face fines. Follow our tips to safely use a skip and improve your home.”
To skip, or not to skip
First of all, work out if you have enough waste to justify a skip. If you don’t, various companies offer smaller waste removal such as Hippobag, however generally these are more expensive (relatively speaking) than skips. Also, bear in mind that following a recent change of legislation, from 1 January 2024, charges for disposing of construction waste at a refuse centre have been scrapped. This includes plasterboard, hardcore and rubble from household DIY projects that have been removed. However, there is still a limit as to how much you can take, so a skip may still be a necessary step.
Can you skip it?
There are many items that are not allowed to be skipped, including batteries, certain electric bulbs, and aerosols, so be sure to check what you’re chucking out. A full list of what is not allowed can be found here.
Not only must you be careful of what goes in your skip, but how much. Overloading your skip can result in overspill which could be dangerous - as well as seeing you handed a fine of several hundred pounds from your skip hire company.
Licence to skip
If your skip is going to be on the pavement or a public highway you require a licence. However, the majority of councils will allow the skip company to apply for the permit on your behalf. It’s imperative that you check this as enforcement officers regularly check for permits, and without the correct licence you can face a fine of up to £1,000. When keeping a skip on the pavement, it must not significantly block the pavement, or any entrances or utilities. It must also not be within 15 metres of a junction and ideally not parked on double yellow lines or a pay and display parking space (or you will need to apply for parking suspensions).
Can you use someone else’s skip?
Using someone else’s skip without permission won’t just make you a nightmare neighbour, it actually counts as fly tipping and is therefore illegal. Sadly, you wouldn’t be the only criminal out there as fly tipping is a common problem, with over 700,000 incidents last year. Fly tipping is a crime that can see you face a fine of £5,000, or even a prison sentence.
What happens if someone fly tips in my skip?
Ultimately you are responsible for what goes into your skip, so you need to be vigilant and check it before collection. You can look at covering your skip with netting to prevent this or hiring a lockable skip for a slightly higher cost.