By Bill Heaney
More than 60,000 instances of fly-tipping were recorded in Scotland last year, according to “alarming figures” obtained by the Scottish Conservatives.
Responses from Scottish councils to Freedom of Information requests from the party reveal the true scale of a problem which “blights the nation’s landscape”.
Data collated from 30 of the 32 local authorities, reveals that 60,405 fly-tipping cases were recorded in 2022. Glasgow City Council accounted for the highest number of these – 19,313.
Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, left, whose Member’s Bill on fly-tipping is set to come before parliament, says the figures underline why new legislation is needed to tackle a “growing scourge in our communities”.
His Bill – which has been welcomed by key stakeholders such as NFU Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates – aims to improve current laws around fly-tipping by ensuring that there is better data collection, reporting mechanisms and increased and standardised sanctions.
Murdo Fraser said: “It is clear from these alarming figures that robust, new fly-tipping legislation is urgently needed.
“That is why I’m delighted my Member’s Bill, which has overwhelming public backing, received the necessary cross-party support to enable me to bring it before parliament.
“Fly-tipping creates huge environmental damage across Scotland, which blights the nation’s landscape in both rural and urban areas.
“The irresponsible, destructive, and criminal dumping of refuse and waste at unauthorised locations leaves landowners and public authorities with the substantial costs of cleaning up.
“Such incidents – often carried out by organised crime gangs – are clearly on the increase, so it’s important we get this law on the statute book as soon as possible.
“It’s not a party-political bill, but a common-sense piece of legislation that will help to tackle a growing scourge in our communities by strengthening the law and toughening the punishments for breaching it.”
More than 60,000 instances of fly-tipping were recorded in 2022. FOIs obtained from 30 out of 32 Scottish councils have shown that 60,405 fly-tipping instances were recorded in 2022. The council with the largest number of instances was Glasgow City Council, with 19,313 instances recorded in 2022. The two councils that did not respond to the requests were East Lothian and Inverclyde Council. (FOIs available upon request).
The Scottish Conservatives have proposed a fly-tipping Bill. The Bill, proposed by Murdo Fraser MSP, aims to ensure that there is better data collection and reporting mechanisms and to ensure that the individual on whose land or property waste has been dumped is not responsible in law for its removal. The Bill also aims to impose strict liability on the generator of the waste for clearing it up and paying any fines for its disposal and finally to increase and standardise sanctions, including lifting the current fixed-penalty notice threshold of £200 (Scottish Conservatives, 1 March 2022, link).
The proposed legislation was welcomed by key stakeholders. A representative from Scottish Land & Estates noted: ‘To help end this often large-scale criminal activity, we believe greater public education regarding the true impact of fly-tipping is needed, as well as tougher prison sentences, significantly higher fines, scrapping the offender’s vehicle and making the polluter pay for the clean-up, rather than the innocent victim who owns the property’. NFU Scotland said: ‘Fly-tipping is such a major issue across Scotland that action needs to be taken to change the law when it comes to dealing with those responsible. Such positive action to tackle fly-tipping, through this Private Member’s Bill, is something NFU Scotland would fully support.’ (Scottish Conservatives, 1 March 2022, link).
If we want to reduce fly tipping we need to make responsible disposal easy, hassle free and without upfront charge.
In West Dunbartonshire it is an absolute hassle to try to dispose of any domestic waste if the householder arrives in a van or a car with a small trailer. Unless they have online booked in giving their car or van registration a minimum of 24 hours before then they are turned away. Folk can even be turned away if a digit in the registration is entered wrongly.
For many therefore, well intentioned in taking their waste, the frustration in being turned away, ould well be the reason that some resort to simply fly tipping. Unacceptable behaviour but that is what happens when systems like this are implemented and enforced.
In comparison Helensburgh recycling centre operate no such policy like WDC and they have less fly tipping.
Or if you are a householder, an older person, with no transport, unable to drive and you need let us say a table and chairs uplifted the householder phone the council, who ren arranges for a council employee to visit the householder a price for the uplift depending on the exact nature of the items, who then if the customer accepts the charges later confirms a date for uplift. Convoluted and less than straightforward, its maybe another incentive to just dump.
But I cant speak for the rest of Scotland – but Gardez L’eau or Gardy Loo as they say!