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Calls for tougher fines on illegal fly-tippers to be introduced

Murdo Fraser MSP wants a crackdown on fly-tipping
Murdo Fraser MSP wants a crackdown on fly-tipping

Tougher punishments for those who illegally dump waste needs to be introduced in Scotland, according to a Conservative MSP.

Murdo Fraser, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, wants to see fines of up to £2,000 slapped on those who illegally dump waste.

He is calling for the 30-year-old legislation on fly-tipping to be overhauled and for new legislation to be brought in that puts the responsibility back on the people who created the waste in the first place.

Higher fines would be a ‘real deterrent’

Mr Fraser says the current laws on fly-tipping, which date back to the Environment Act 1990, are outdated and in need of modernising.

Currently the owner of the land where rubbish is illegally dumped on is responsible for getting rid of it.

He wants this to be changed so the household which creates the waste in the first place is responsible, even if they have paid a third party to dump the waste for them.

Fly-tipping in Westfield in Ballingry, Fife

As well as improving the reporting system so politicians have a better understanding of where fly-tipping is happening, he wants the current fixed penalty notice of £200 increased to £2,000 so it acts as a “real deterrent”.

Mr Fraser lodged a member’s bill with the Scottish Parliament on Monday 28 February in a bid to get these proposals brought into law.

Current responsibility ‘unfair’

Mr Fraser said: “The current law is 30 years out-of-date.

“At the moment you are held responsible for the clean-up costs of fly-tipped waste on your land, even if you didn’t create it.

“That has always struck me as unfair.

“Secondly, three years ago in England they created an enhanced duty of care on the people who create the waste in the first place.

“Often SEPA finds a pile of dumped rubbish and goes through it to find receipts and envelopes and they can trace it back to the household it came from – they then say they paid someone to take it away, and that is a defence.

“It should be if you create the waste, you need to make sure it is disposed of properly.

“And thirdly, the maximum penalty at the moment is £200.

Fly-tipping at Davie Park, Rattray

“I have spoken to environment officers who have caught people in the act of fly-tipping and say a £200 fine is cheaper than paying for it to be disposed of properly.

“So perhaps it needs to be as much as £2,000 for it to be at a level where it is a real deterrent.”

The public consultation on the bill will run until May 23, and Mr Fraser says he hopes as many people as possible share their views on changing the current law.

He added: “This is not just a rural issue, there is a growing problem of fly-tipping in urban areas and industrial estates.

Flytipping at Westfield site near Ballingry in Fife

“There are sites around Perthshire, Fife and Angus which are now known as fly-tipping spots.

“This is not a partisan or party political bill, but a common sense piece of legislation to tackle a growing scourge on our landscape, so I hope and expert in due course that it will receive backing from members across the Scottish Parliament.”

‘Tidal wave of rubbish’ must be stopped

This bill is already being backed by Scottish Land and Estates and NFU Scotland.

Simon Ovenden, policy adviser at Scottish Land and Estates, said: “The tidal wave of builders’ rubbish, household junk and toxic waste engulfing our beautiful countryside must be stopped.

Fly tipping at the A92 layby opposite Kincorth

“To help end this often large-scale criminal activity, we believe greater public education regarding the true impact of fly-tipping is needed, as well as tougher prison sentences, significantly higher fines, scrapping the offender’s vehicle and making the polluter pay for the clean-up, rather than the innocent victim who owns the property.

“Our livestock, wildlife and environment deserve better.

“We were pleased to help Mr Fraser develop his member’s bill and strongly support the bill’s intentions to rid Scotland of fly-topping once and for all.”

VIDEO: Aerial footage reveals extent of Fife’s worst illegal dumping ground as staff report attacks

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