Calls for new effort to tackle blight of illegal fly-tipping

Scottish ministers are being urged to end illegal dumping of waste in the countryside, which is contaminating the environment and poses a risk to people and animals.

The call comes after incidents of fly-tipping rose dramatically during lockdown, with everything from child car seats to empty booze bottles and even a burnt-out car discovered abandoned in wilderness areas.

The problems have been set out in an open letter to environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham, signed by rural and environmental groups from across the country.

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Members of Keep Scotland Beautiful, Woodland Trust Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates, NFU Scotland and the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime have asked for the Scottish Government to urgently provide clarity on how it intends to move forward its work on tackling fly-tipping.

Rural businesses and environmental organisations are calling for the Scottish Government to stamp out fly-tipping, which is blighting the landscape and poses a danger to people and animals

The letter states: “Scotland’s beautiful countryside continues to be blighted by people’s rubbish on a daily basis and the negative impact this is having is significant.

“We know that fly-tipping can cause a wide range of problems to the natural, social and economic environment, including harm to wildlife and livestock, disease transmission, soil contamination, attraction of other crimes and substantial clear-up costs.

“Waste crime is becoming an increasingly more visible issue and we believe a new approach is needed to turn the tables on this crime for good.”

A number of fly-tipping incidents were reported by Scottish Land & Estates members this spring and summer.

Incidents of fly-tipping rose during lockdown, with all sorts of waste being illegally dumped across the country

There were four significant dumpings within a single week at one estate in Perth and Kinross, with a suitcase, a child’s car seat, oil drums and domestic waste among the rubbish found.

There was a particularly unpleasant incident in Angus, when a bag of human excrement was discovered on land near Kirriemuir, as well as a double mattress, garden waste and unwanted toys.

Further north, a massive stack of empty vodka bottles appeared on the edge of a woodland in Aberdeenshire.

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The group insists there should be a shift in focus from “the endless task of clearing up other people’s mess” to preventing littering.

It suggests this could be done through a coordinated national response, collaborative working and a greater use of data to help target action.

The letter concludes: “Every week that passes by without serious action, is another week of our beautiful country being used as a dumping ground.”

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