28 June 2023
Updated on June 30 at 3pm
The Scottish Government has published Scotland’s first joint National Litter and Fly-tipping Strategy, which could lead to increased fines of up to £500.
Barry Fisher, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful told The Democrat: “Today marks a significant step forward in tackling the litter emergency, and we welcome the important milestone that the launch of this Strategy represents. It will provide a much-needed strategic framework for collaboration to tackle the litter emergency.
“We have been working hard with partners, including the Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to develop a strategy fit for purpose.
“We have been clear in defining what our asks for the new strategy are whilst emphasising the importance of it being supported by a fully financed and resourced action plan over its lifetime.
Fly-tipping – there are significant policy measures being brought forward which have the potential to finance, influence and drive change.
“The Strategy 2023/24 Action Plan doesn’t deliver everything we asked for, but we recognise that the country is facing a number of challenges which make this unrealistic at this time. We realise that the Strategy will not immediately reverse the decline we have recorded in cleanliness levels across Scotland, however it is a positive start, and we are now calling on everyone to play their part.
“Looking forward there are significant policy measures being brought forward which have the potential to finance, influence and drive change in those behaviours that can impact upon the number and type of items littered including Extended Producer Responsibility schemes, the introduction of a charge for single-use coffee cups, and the delayed Deposit Return Scheme.
“As a key delivery partner of the Strategy’s 2023/24 Action Plan, we are committed to working hard with our partners, funders and communities across the country. There is no doubt, urgent action is needed now and appropriate increased investment in the future is essential if we are to revitalise our communities and clean up Scotland.
“We remain committed to ensuring that the Strategy, alongside Scotland’s Marine Litter Strategy, is delivered for all those in Scotland who care. It will be an invaluable tool for us all, but we must not stop striving for greater collaboration, commitment and action as we push towards becoming a litter free nation.”
“The climate, nature and litter emergencies are all interlinked; with unsustainable consumption at the heart of all three. Tackling litter will lead to important, positive impacts on efforts to combat climate change and halt biodiversity loss.
“We urge everyone to play their part and support our efforts to keep Scotland beautiful.”
Meanwhile, fly-tippers are to be hit with £500 on-the-spot fines as SNP-Green ministers finally take action to crack down on the nationwide problem. But critics warned the measures still did not go far enough.
The new fine contained in an action plan for 2023-24 is more than double the current £200 penalty. There are also proposals to fine the registered keeper of a vehicle if rubbish is thrown out of its window.
However, the strategy set out by Scottish Greens minister Lorna Slater will only work if it is enforced properly. There were at least 60,000 instances of fly-tipping recorded in 2022 but fewer than 400 cases have been referred to prosecutors in the past SIX YEARS.
Murdo Fraser, MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, right, has been calling for a crackdown on behalf of his constituents for years and published a Private Member’s Bill proposing new action on fly-tipping.
He said: “It’s high time the SNP-Green government acknowledged this problem, which blights Scotland’s landscape, and causes terrible environmental damage in both rural and urban areas.
“I’m pleased to see measures from my own member’s bill being incorporated, particularly the cap on fines being removed. I also welcome increased powers to penalise the owners of vehicles engaged in fly-tipping.
“It’s right that the circular economy should place responsibility squarely on the generator of the waste, as is the case in England and Wales. But the government has not chosen to remove liability from the person affected, which is a blow to landowners and victims.”