A sprawling mass of household rubbish found dumped in the Perthshire countryside has triggered fresh calls to re-open Scotland’s recycling centres.
Fly-tippers abandoned the huge mountain of waste – including a three-piece suite, bags of clothes and family photos – at a remote roadside spot between Scone and Glendoick.
The council’s environment convener Angus Forbes described it as “easily” the worst example of fly-tipping he has ever seen.
The grim discovery was made as local authorities prepare a plan to reopen recycling centres within weeks – but only if they get the green light from the Scottish Government.
Cosla, the body that represents councils, said leaders agreed on Friday to prepare for the reopening of sites on June 1.
Cosla’s environment and economy spokesman Steven Heddle said this “depends on receiving assurances that this will not negatively impact the Covid-19 infection rate and will be consistent with national travel advice.”
Mr Heddle said social distancing among site staff and other safety measures would also have to be maintained.
“The intent behind this decision is to provide a level of coordination across Scotland, to avoid a disjointed approach which could lead to confusion,” he said.
Mr Forbes, a Conservative councillor for the Carse of Gowrie area, said he stumbled across the roadside fly-tip while out delivering Covid-19 information leaflets for Perth and Kinross Council.
“Somehow the perpetrators had managed to launch a three piece suite deep into the woods,” he said.
“Looking through the debris, I found two bits of identification for two different people so this is clearly someone doing this as a commercial operation.
“One address was in Leven, I will pass the evidence to both the police and the council.”
He added: “The Scottish Government need to allow recycling centres to open as soon as possible. My feeling is that the owners of this rubbish have paid someone to remove it assuming it was being processes properly, if they had access to their local centre, maybe they would have taken it there. ”
Tory MSP Murdo Fraser described the incident as “utterly disgraceful”.
He said: “Dumping as many items in this manner is illegal and inexcusable but I’m afraid the recent spike in fly-tipping incidents is linked to the Scottish Government not allowing local recycling centres to re-open.”
Councils across Courier Country said they were working to revive recycling centres “in a safe and controlled manner” as soon as it is safe to do so.
In Fife, chief operating officer Robin Baird said: “It’s crucial that before we reopen any sites that we can comply with stringent health and safety requirements including sanitation, social distancing and traffic management.”
He added: “Our top priority is to make sure both local people and our staff are kept safe.”
The Countryside Alliance recently reported a rise in fly-tipping of nearly 300% in some areas, since recycling centres shut in March.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “As the First Minister indicated on 10 May, we are looking at this issue but as yet no decision has been taken. We are working closely with Cosla and local authorities and will provide a further update on those discussions in the near future.”