Politics

SNP accused of ‘legalising littering’ after thousands of flytippers dodge prosecution

SNP ministers have been accused of having “legalised littering” after only 34 of almost 135,000 flytipping incidents over the last two years have been reported to prosecutors.

The Scottish LibDems said the figures show that the lack of action means the Scottish Government has “effectively legalised flytipping on an industrial scale”.

The party has called for Scottish councils to make greater use of powers to tackle fly-tipping in order to protect communities and the natural environment.

Figures released under freedom of information requests to each of Scotland’s councils show only eight local authorities passed cases to the procurator fiscal for prosecution.

Of the 30 councils which provided responses to requests, a total of 134,974 fly-tipping incidents were reported since September 2019.

Glasgow City Council reported the highest number of incidents with 48,539, followed by Edinburgh with 25,717.

Across Scotland, 1,879 fixed-penalty notices have been issued since September 2019 and 34 incidents were reported to the procurator fiscal.

Last month, the Scottish Government launched a review into littering and fly-tipping which will consider raising the current level of fines issues.

Willie Rennie, Scottish Lib Dems communities spokesperson, said: “Not only does fly-tipping spoil the appearance of our beautiful country, it can be devastating for crops and animals.

“From remote beauty spots to busy cities, these figures show that this is a widespread issue, yet only a tiny fraction of cases ever result in a fine or a trip to court.

“With refuse collections disrupted and tips closed for long stretches, it’s no surprise that this has been a particular issue since the pandemic hit.”

READ MORE: Scotland’s flytipping hotspots revealed: Find stats in your area

He added: “The Scottish Government has effectively legalised littering on an industrial scale.

“We need to see local authorities using the powers at their disposal to clamp down on this disgusting behaviour and ensure that repeat offenders especially feel the full force of the law.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats also want to see increased support for farmers and those who bear the brunt of fly-tipping to help them with the clear-up costs.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We want a Scotland that is free of the blight of fly-tipping and last month we proposed a bold set of measures to tackle this issue.

“These include more than doubling the fines for fly-tipping and developing best practice guidance to support authorities with powers to issue fines.

“We are also looking at the possibility of using civil penalties to enforce offences.

“These actions will send a strong message that this behaviour will not be tolerated, and help make our streets, countryside and public spaces free of illegal dumping.”

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