Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, the First Minister was asked if it was time to re-open recycling centres amid growing environmental and public health concerns about illegal dumping of waste.
The UK government’s Environment Secretary George Eustice yesterday confirmed that taking rubbish to official dumps was “essential travel” – along with shopping, exercise and medical need.
The Scottish Government is understood to be in talks with COSLA on how to re-open the council sites keeping social distancing measures in place as dumpers have been leaving their waste at the gates of recycling centres, with reports of rat infestations as a result.
However today Nicola Sturgeon said the waste centres would not reopen soon, as she quashed hopes of any easing of lockdown restrictions next week.
She said: “We will do it if and when we consider it safe to do so, that’s the position with all of these measures.”
The First Minister said the government had launched a public campaign around fly tipping and the need for people to be responsible and added: “We’re aware of these issues and clearly want to make sure we take steps, up to reopening centres, to deal with that.”
Since lockdown began many local authorities have cut waste collections as well as closing recycling centres and fly-tipping reporting website ClearWaste.com has reported a rise of 83 per cent in cases.
The new Scottish Environment Agency campaign has vowed to be “uncompromising” on offenders.
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