Fines for flytipping could be more than doubled in Scotland as part of new crackdown

Fines for flytipping could be more than doubled in Scotland in a bid to crack down on the "immoral" and "dangerous" practice.

A new consultation proposes raising fines from £200 to £500 - the maximum permitted by current legislation.

It also asks if fines should be raised beyond this cap.

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Lorna Slater, the Scottish Government' s circular economy minister and the Greens co-leader, said: “We want a Scotland that is free of the blight of litter and flytipping.

Baths, asbestos, washing machines and bin bags piled up under the M8 motorway earlier this year. Picture: John Devlin

"That’s why we’re asking for views on a bold set of measures that could help make our streets, parks and public spaces free of rubbish.

“Litter and flytipping are not just a blight on local communities – they also cost millions of pounds every year in clean-up costs.

"We need to send a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

“We also need to understand why anti-litter measures are still not reaching some people.

"To address that, we are proposing not just a one off campaign, but a sustained push, backed by new research into why people litter.

“We also want to make better use of data to clamp down on illegal dumping.

"By understanding more about where and when flytipping takes place, we can be more effective in targeting interventions to stop it.”

The consultation, which runs until March 31, proposes a sustained national behaviour change campaign, aimed at breaking the cycle of littering and flytipping.

This would be supported by new research, looking at why people continue to litter.

Other plans include increasing and improving the use of data to locate and target litter and flytipping hotspots.

The creation of a national flytipping forum, chaired by the circular economy minister, would bring together key stakeholders in Scotland to discuss how to implement the new strategy and share best practice and insights.

Terry A’Hearn, chief executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said flytipping is "not only immoral, it is illegal and waste crime poses a risk not only to human health and the environment, but also to urban and rural businesses, and communities".

He added: "Waste dumped illegally in laybys, rural locations or holes in the ground, instead of being disposed of in the correct manner, means criminals are avoiding having to pay the costs a legal operator has to pay.

“Tackling waste crime is a priority for SEPA, and the information collected from this consultation could mean better sharing and co-ordination of flytipping data between us and partners, helping us manage our responses better.”

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Litter and flytipping are illegal, dangerous, and entirely avoidable. In fact, half of all litter could have been recycled.

“The impact is more than the staggering clean-up costs – recklessly dumping items is damaging to our wildlife and communities.

"But despite tremendous efforts, it’s still a national issue.

"To tackle it, we need new ideas, new approaches and new collaborations, which is why Zero Waste Scotland implores everyone to take part in this public consultation.”

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