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Action called for on fly-tipping menace


By Kyle Ritchie

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An urgent call has been made for a clampdown on fly-tipping with an incident in Ellon having been highlighted in the campaign.

The area saw a large increase in people dumping rubbish earlier this year when the skips were closed.

Dozens of empty vodka bottles were found to be discarded in woodland close to a car passing point on a road close to the town.

Residents and the landowner ended up having to clear the waste.

Dozens of vodka bottles were dumped in the incident at Ellon.
Dozens of vodka bottles were dumped in the incident at Ellon.

Cases like this and others across Scotland have prompted rural and environmental organisations to write an open letter to MSP Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, calling on the Scottish Government to urgently provide clarity on how it intends to move forward its work on tackling fly-tipping.

In the letter, the organisations have said they would like to see a shift in focus from the endless task of clearing up other people’s mess to preventing it from occurring in the first place and have made three suggestions of how this could be achieved.

They have also warned that every week that passes by without serious action, is another week of the country being used as a dumping ground.

In the letter, Scottish Land and Estates, National Farmers Union Scotland, Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Woodland Trust said: "We jointly write to you to express our continued concerns about fly-tipping which continues to blight Scotland’s countryside and to ask you to clarify the Scottish Government’s plans for tackling this issue in the short to medium term.

"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.

"With Scotland expected to host the UN Climate Change Conference in 2021 we believe this offers a unique catalyst for action, to look after our environment and encourage others to do the same.

"We welcome the Scottish Government’s recent review of the national litter strategy which includes measures on fly-tipping and its work with SEPA, Zero Waste Scotland, COSLA and councils on identifying other action which can be taken to tackle the issue.

"However, we believe there must be a shift in focus from the endless task of clearing up other people’s mess to preventing it from occurring in the first place."

The organisations believe this could happen through a coordinated strategic national response to tackle fly-tipping in Scotland; collaborative, cross-sector working with a firm commitment from the Scottish Government to regularly bring key stakeholders together; and a greater use of data to better asses the scale and impact of the problem which can then be used to help drive action at a regional or local level.

The letter added: "With Scotland rightly perceived as leading the way on a range of environmental issues, we believe 2020 should be the year we must start to address this issue – now is the time to bring all stakeholders to the table and agree how we can collectively tackle fly-tipping.

"We firmly believe that by dealing with fly-tipping more effectively there are significant benefits for Scotland’s economy – as well as for society and the environment – which as we recover from a global pandemic could not be more important.

"Every week that passes by without serious action, is another week of our beautiful country being used as a dumping ground."

The letter is signed by the chief executive of Scottish Land and Estates Sarah-Jane Laing; the director of Woodland Trust Scotland Carol Evans; Police Scotland's national rural crime coordinator Inspector Alan Dron; President of NFU Scotland Andrew McCornick and Keep Scotland Beautiful chief executive Barry Fisher.

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