NFU Scotland joins MSP in fight against rural flytipping

Tighter legislation and tougher penalties for the offence of flytipping waste and rubbish in Scotland’s scenic countryside could be on the cards if the prospect of a Scottish Parliament member’s bill to curb the growing blight is realised.

Better collection of statistics, shifting the liability for clean-up to the source of the waste rather than innocent landowners and strengthening fines to act as a deterrent were among the possibilities discussed this week by a host of rural organisations and Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser.

Speaking after the meetings Mr Fraser said that flytipping had become such a major issue across Scotland that action needed to be taken to change the law when it came to dealing with those responsible.

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“There’s a lot more we need to do to improve public education about the risks of flytipping – but we also have to look at the current legal framework to ensure that the powers are there to track down those responsible and make them bear the cost.”

He said there had been considerable support for taking forward a member’s bill at meetings with the police, rural organisations and local authorities.

“We need to make sure those responsible are bearing the cost of flytipping and the authorities are equipped with the powers to do just that,” said Mr Fraser.

Welcoming the possibility of updated legislation, NFU Scotland said that flytipping was an issue that was increasing in both volume and frequency, with the sight of abandoned, sometimes dangerous, waste representing more than simply an eyesore in Scotland’s countryside.

“It can and does cause harm to livestock, crops, nature and wildlife,” said the union. “With more and more cases, it is an issue that farmers are having to deal with more often, costing them not just in terms of money but also large amounts of their time.”

The union said that, despite recycling centres reopening, flytipping and illegal dumping incidents were still recorded daily by farmers across the country.

“Cases in the past year alone have included rotting meat, hazardous asbestos waste, domestic appliances, household waste, builders’ rubble, garden cuttings, pallets and garage waste including tyres and car batteries,” it said.

“The penalties in place are clearly not working as a deterrent as those who flytip, be they individual members of the public, non-reputable businesses or criminal organisations.”

A series of recent meetings had seen stakeholders including the Scottish G overnment, Zero Waste Scotland, Sepa, councils and national parks looking at how data on flytipping was collated and shared; stronger penalties to act as a deterrent; and introducing extended producer responsibility on the most commonly flytipped items.

“While there were many innovative and creative ideas raised, all agreed there was no one single ‘silver bullet’ to tackle the issue of flytipping,” said the union, which added that a joined-up and collaborative approach covering everything from accessibility of household waste recycling to making it easier to report flytipping was required.

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