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‘Pathetic waffle’: Fife’s environmental vandalism plan dismissed as 10 pages of councilspeak

Fly-tipping at the Westfield energy park in Fife.

Proposals to clamp down on “environmental vandals” in Fife have been dismissed as pathetic waffle.

An environmental vandalism strategy for the region was first proposed 14 months ago when councillors called for get-tough policies to stamp out illegal dumping, littering and graffiti.

Environmental vandalism Fife
Westfield: An example of environmental vandalism in Fife. Picture Steven Brown/DCT Media.

But the end result is described as nothing more than 10 pages of councilspeak.

Fife Council’s Conservative group leader Dave Dempsey said officers’ suggestions contained no substance or detail whatsoever.

And he rubbished it as a “pathetic attempt”.

Members demanded action following a surge in complaints about fly-tipping across Fife.

A dumping hotspot at the former Westfield power station at Ballingry, and a pile of nappies, beds and rotting food near flats in Methil were among the most serious incidents reported.

‘There’s nothing in it’

Mr Dempsey said he expected concrete action to tackle the growing issue.

Initial suggestions included more use of CCTV cameras to catch people in the act.

And talks with the Procurator Fiscal were promised to ensure an increase in prosecutions.

But instead, the proposed strategy contains a series of “woolly” ideas and a public consultation.

Councillor John O’Brien called for action in Methil.

It suggests “creating a sense of place that citizens are proud to live in” and “harnessing the enthusiasm of communities to get things done”.

And it proposes “working in partnership with citizens, businesses and agencies to effect long-term improvements”.

Officers will introduce the Prevention of Environmental Vandalism Strategy to members of the environment and protective services sub-committee on Thursday.

They describe it as “an initial scoping of the requirements and challenges” to achieving a step change in the public’s behaviour.

Councillor Dave Dempsey wants a detailed environmental vandalism strategy for Fife.

And they say it is just a first step that will be updated following a planned consultation exercise.

But Mr Dempsey added: “Now we see it – 10 pages of councilspeak waffle with no detail.

“There’s nothing in it. It’s just a proposed consultation with the promise of more words in February.

“This isn’t good enough. The public has been calling for action for ages.”

Environmental vandalism costs £50m

Tackling environmental vandalism costs Scottish local authorities around £50 million a year.

In Fife, £15,000 was spent on CCTV which proved largely ineffective due to vandalism and poor quality images.

And only one fixed penalty notice was issued based on CCTV evidence.

However, the council works with community groups and has uplifted 12,500 bags of rubbish collected by volunteers so far this year.

The council’s report adds: “An important element of this new approach will be ensuring every person in Fife, whether a resident, business, partner or employee, takes responsibility for being part of the solution.”

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