A rising tide of rogue dumpers are blighting Tayside and Fife with nearly 10,000 recorded incidents of flytipping in the past two years.
A Courier investigation has revealed enforcement action has been taken against offenders in just 400 cases over that period, with not a single offender pursued in Angus or Perth.
The “deeply concerning” statistics have now sparked a call for a change in the way the issue is handled.
A total of 369 reports of flytipping were reported in Angus in 2014/15 and 373 last year.
That compared with 475 in Perth and Kinross in 2014/15 and 566 in 2015/16.
Fife Council recorded 3,317 flytipping incidents in 2014/15 and 3,211 in 2015/16 with 336 fixed penalty notices issued in the past two years.
There were 778 reports to Dundee City Council in 2014/15 which went up to 863 in 2015/16 with 64 incidents leading to enforcement action.
None of the councils could give a cost for the clean-up operation.
North East Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said: “There are two aspects to these figures which are deeply concerning.
“The first is the fact that fly tipping is on the increase, and the second is that in Angus and Perth, those responsible evade detection, and unfortunately there seems to be a pattern emerging here.
“Fly tipping is an eyesore for visitors and residents, it can cause environmental damage and can cost landowners and the public purse a fortune to clear up.
“There are plenty ways disposing of rubbish legally, and I condemn utterly the selfish, mindless criminals who choose to simply dump their rubbish illegally.
“This situation also begs the question of how they get away with it.
“In Angus and Perth we see a combined total of well over 1,500 incidents over two years, but not a single fine has been issued for it.
“It hardly inspires confidence.
“We must not tolerate an open season for fly tipping, and greater efforts must be made to deter it, and bring to book those who do it.”
The fixed penalty notice for flytipping is £200, but fines of up to £40,000 can be imposed by a sheriff if the case is taken to court.
Eben Wilson from Taxpayer Scotland said: “It’s time our councils either farmed the job out to private providers who will do the job properly and make money from it too or put their resources into only the services that council taxpayers see as valuable.”
Courier Country councils have urged the public to report any incidents.
An Angus Council spokesperson said: “Flytipping can be dangerous, harm the environment and can prove costly to clear.
“Whilst we do everything we can to track down flytippers, cases rely on good evidence, which is often very difficult to obtain and we call on residents who are aware of this activity to contact us with any information.
“Reports of flytipping can be on a small or a large scale and on public or private land.
“Angus Council is responsible for investigating and disposing of fly-tipping on council ground.
“Where items are flytipped on private ground the council will try to find the culprit where possible, but the landowner is responsible for clearing away the flytipping.
“We also work closely with SEPA who deal with larger flytipping incidents.
“Where there is evidence available, or we can pinpoint the culprit, we approach them informally in the first instance and ask them to remove the waste.
“We do see considerable successes where this approach results in the flytipping being cleared up by the individual.”
A spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross Council said: “Flytipping spoils the environment for all and is an unnecessary and irresponsible activity given the many appropriate avenues for disposal of household and commercial waste in place across Perth and Kinross, such as special uplifts for bulky household items, the council’s nine recycling centres, and a range of charities that accept donations of items for reuse.
“As part of our waste and recycling services, we additionally undertake education and awareness-raising activities in the community to highlight the impact that flytipping and littering has, and endeavour to encourage people to dispose of their waste properly and responsibly.
“We also encourage the public to report instances of flytipping either to the Council or to the national Dumb Dumpers hotline.
“These reports will be investigated.
“Where flytipping occurs on council land, we will take steps to clear the rubbish.
“Where private land is involved, this is a matter for the landowner to address.”
John Alexander convener of Dundee City Council’s neighbourhood services committee said: “Flytipping is completely unacceptable under any circumstances and I would condemn this type of selfish and inconsiderate behaviour in the strongest possible terms.
“There is no excuse for people to illegally and irresponsibly dump their rubbish in this way because we have two major recycling sites accessible at each end of the city.
“The council also provides householders with a Special Collection Service that allows them to have larger items uplifted.”
He said the council actively pursues those that are identified as being responsible for flytipping and “encourages people to continue to support those efforts by reporting fly tipping and passing on as much detail as possible to the council to allow culprits to be identified, traced and subject to legal penalties”.
Dawn Jamieson from Fife Council said: “There is no excuse for dumping in the countryside or anywhere else in Fife.
“Illegal dumping is a growing problem that has costs in excess of £75m a year to local authorities in Scotland. We investigate reports of illegal dumping and prosecute offenders whenever possible. Fixed penalty notices of £200 may be issued, however major offenders may be referred directly to the Procurator Fiscal and they may incur fines of up to £40,000.
“It is the responsibility of land owners to remove flytipped waste from their land, but we do carry out investigations on their behalf to help them to deal with this problem and prevent a recurrence.”