Bid to change law to tackle fly-tipping across Scotland

Proposed legislation would seek to increase fines and make offenders liable for fly-tipping.

Bid to change law to tackle fly-tipping across Scotland iStock
The proposed legislation is being brought forward by Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser.

The law should be changed to clamp down on fly-tipping by toughening up fines, it has been suggested.

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser is bidding to tackle the issue by increasing penalties and making offenders liable.

In February, it was revealed by the Scottish Liberal Democrats that more than 125,000 reports of fly-tipping were made to Scottish councils in the past two years.

A Bill is now being brought forward by Fraser at the Scottish Parliament, having hosted a round-table meeting on how to address fly-tipping.

The meeting included representatives of Police Scotland, National Farmers Union (NFU) Scotland, the Woodland Trust, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Scottish Land and Estates.

“I’m thankful to everyone who attended our round-table meeting, which proved to be very productive,” said Fraser.

“Everyone who attended acknowledged that something needs to be done to address this growing problem.

“I am focused on changing the law to clamp down on fly-tipping by toughening up fines to act as more of a deterrent, as it is apparent that the current penalties are not working.

“I am also keen to examine how we can shift the liability for cleaning up fly-tipping to the offenders who ditch the waste, instead of the current unfair practice where innocent land owners are accountable, and how to better collect information on fly-tipping.”

“Scotland needs to end the scourge of fly-tipping.”

Sarah-Jane Laing, Scottish Land and Estates chief executive

Fraser added that cutting down on fly-tipping would deliver a boost ahead of the UN climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

He said: “While I will still be meeting a range of other key interested groups on this topic, after such an encouraging initial response, I have decided to introduce a Members’ Bill to make the necessary changes to the law.

“Cutting down on the inconsiderate crime of fly-tipping would deliver a huge boost to Scotland’s environment in the year of COP26.”

National Farmers Union (NFU) Scotland president Martin Kennedy explained that farmers are often being left to pay for waste disposal.

“Fly-tipping is a permanent scar on our natural environment,” he said.

“Despite recycling centres re-opening, fly-tipping and illegal dumping incidents are still being recorded daily by NFU Scotland members and are a continuous blight on rural Scotland.

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

“Farmers are most often left to foot the bill for disposal – that is fundamentally unfair and must change.”

Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) chief executive, Sarah-Jane Laing, said: “Scotland needs to end the scourge of fly-tipping.

“Better reporting channels, correlation of national reporting, stronger penalties and shifting liability from the affected landowners to the source of the waste are all crucial to effectively tackling fly-tipping. 

“We welcome Mr Fraser’s intention to introduce a Members’ Bill as it is clear current sanctions are not acting as a deterrent and need strengthened.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said that a consultation letter will be published later in the year to outline key actions as part of a new fly-tipping strategy.

They said: “Flytipping is illegal, selfish and dangerous and there is no excuse for it anywhere in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government has committed to publishing a refreshed and updated National Litter and Flytipping Strategy.

“We will publish a consultation later in the year to outline the key actions in the new strategy, including looking at where legislation may need reviewed or updated.”