ENVIRONMENT: Fly-tipping Bill proposed at Parliament

Monday 31 October 2022

By Bill Heaney

New legislation to crack down on the scourge of fly-tipping moves a step closer today, when it is lodged with the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser’s, right, Member’s Bill now has 28 days to attract cross-party support, and – should it do so – will then be debated at Holyrood.

The proposals, which received overwhelming support during the consultation stage, would update the current legislation on fly-tipping, which dates back to 1990.

The bill has support from organisations including Scottish Land and Estates and NFU Scotland, and seeks to improve current laws surrounding fly-tipping in four main ways:

  • Ensure better data collection and reporting mechanisms to give a clearer picture of the number of fly-tipping incidents
  • Legal liability – to ensure the person on whose land or property waste has been dumped is not responsible in law for its removal
  • Strict liability on the generator of the waste for clearing it up and paying any fines for its disposal, as is the case in England and Wales
  • Increasing and standardising sanctions, including substantially lifting the current fixed-penalty notice threshold of £200

The consultation, which ran from February until May, showed that 94% of respondents fully or partially supported the bill, with more than 80% backing its proposals to remove liability for disposal from those whose land has waste dumped on it and substantially to increase fines for offenders.

Scottish Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Murdo Fraser said: “Fly-tipping creates huge environmental damage and blights both countryside and urban areas.

“The selfish, irresponsible and completely unnecessary dumping of refuse and waste at unauthorised locations leaves landowners and public authorities with the substantial costs of cleaning up.

“The current law already provides for both criminal sanctions and civil liabilities against fly-tipping but reported incidents – often carried out by organised crime gangs – are on the increase, and new legislation is required.

“This is not a partisan or party political bill, but a common-sense piece of legislation to tackle a growing scourge, strengthen the law and toughen the punishments for breaching it.

“It’s clear from this consultation that the public are strongly behind these proposals and want a robust message sent out to fly-tippers that they will be hit with tougher penalties and will have to clean up after themselves. I hope that this bill will receive wide cross-party support.” 

Principal points from the consultation period:

  • 79% fully supportive of the bill (a further 15% are partially supportive);
  • 64% of those answering fully supportive of the proposal to place new duties on the Scottish Ministers in respect of reporting mechanisms on the collection of data;
  • 86% of those answering fully supportive of removal of legal liability from the person who has waste deposited on their land/property;
  • 68% of those answering fully supportive of imposing strict liability on generator of the waste;
  • 81% of those answering fully supportive of local authority fines being higher;
  • 82% of those answering fully supportive of SEPA fines being higher;
  • 56% of those answering fully supportive of a waste duty of care system;
  • 76% of those answering fully supportive of additional criminal sanctions;
  • 59% of those answering fully supportive of review of corroboration.
  • Pictured above: Fly-tipping on the banks of the River Leven at Renton.

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