Will on-the-spot £500 fines clamp down on scourge of fly-tipping? 

The issue is believed to cost the public purse in Scotland millions of pounds a year.

It’s described as a huge problem in Scotland, one that can blight our countryside and cities.

Fines for fly-tipping more than doubled at the start of this year in a bid to clamp down on illegal dumpings.

It means on-the-spot penalties of £500 can be handed out.

But as councils say their resources to catch culprits are stretched, will the tougher sanctions make a difference?

“I still think people think, ‘yes I can get away with it,'” said Michael Tasker, waste operations supervisor at Fife Council.

“I’d like to see more public involvement, people willing to come forward. I do think a lot people turn a blind to it.

“We’ve tried CCTV in the past but they tend to just get destroyed. It’s disheartening to the teams as well.

“No sooner have they finished an area, got it all cleaned up and I’m back giving them another task to do.”

Mr Tasker leads a team of refuse workers tasked with cleaning up fly-tipping incidents across Fife.

One of those includes a single track road just off the A92 in Thornton, near Glenrothes.

“This was, believe it or not cleared just before Christmas,” he added.

“Over 50 tonnes, quite a mammoth task.”

According to Zero Waste Scotland, clearing up fly-tipping incidents in Scotland costs the public purse £8.9m a year.

In the last four years, more than 280,000 reports of fly-tipping have been logged in Scotland.

Just over 3,000 fines have been handed out.

Councillor Jan Wincott, Fife Council’s environment and climate change spokesperson, believes more resources are needed to implement the new fines.

“I think it’s nice to have it as another weapon in our armoury against fly-tipping,” she said.

“But the truth is we need to have the resource to enforce the fines in the first place.”

Catching culprits, many of whom strike during the night, is a challenge.

“Normally the culprits leave a trail of information we can gather,” said Lee Duffy from Fife Council’s Safer Communities, a group set up to track down those responsible.

“Once we arrive on site we go through the rubbish and find information. Once we go through that and show it to the suspected fly-tippers, they then realise they’ve given the rubbish to an unlicensed waste disposal company.

“The waste disposal company’s dumped the rubbish on the street.”

The new legislation also allows councils to fine the owners of vehicles where a littering offence is committed.

The Scottish Government says the new measures will drive a change in people’s behaviour.

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