Keeping Scotland free from litter and illegal dumping is central to everyone’s need for clean, safe spaces.
Litter and flytipping as a Zero Waste issue
The litter problem could be turned into a resource for Scotland. With at least half of littered items suitable for recycling, such as plastic bottles and aluminium cans. This is around £1.2 million worth of material which could be recycled every year. Recycling litter will contribute to a low-carbon economy and help to reduce harmful greenhouse gases.
National Litter Strategy
During the summer of 2013 the Scottish Government held a consultation outlining fresh action to tackle litter and flytipping and to increase recycling in busy public places. The consultation ran until 27 September and responses to it will inform our National Litter Strategy for Scotland, which we intend to publish in 2014.
This will enhance and reinforce work already underway across public, private and third sector organisations. We will work with our resource efficiency delivery partner Zero Waste Scotland and others stakeholders to support cleaner, safer communities where littering is no longer acceptable.
The consultation was informed by Zero Waste Scotland’s research: Scotland’s Litter Problem: the scale and cost of litter and flytipping.
The National Litter Strategy will complement proposals for Marine Scotland’s Scottish Marine Litter Strategy, which aims to address litter affecting marine and coastal environments.
What's Already Happening
In 2012/13 alone Zero Waste Scotland has invested almost £2 million in work to prevent litter and increase recycling. This includes the installation of 2,700 new 'Recycle on the Go' bins in over 250 busy public places across Scotland.
To help raise awareness of the problem of litter, the Scottish Government currently provides funding through Zero Waste Scotland for Keep Scotland Beautiful’s community clean-up work. Its Clean Up Scotland campaign aims to engage up to one million people over 2013 and 2014 to help clear Scotland of litter and mess.
The Scottish Government also funds the Scottish Flytipping Forum. The Forum includes all of the key stakeholders who are affected by flytipping including councils, police, private landowners and SEPA. The forum launched the Dumb Dumpers Stop Line in 2004. By telephoning 0845 2 30 40 90 or logging onto their website members of the public can report flytipping incidents 24 hours a day.
Who has responsibility for what?
The responsibility for clearing litter from Scotland's streets and public areas primarily lies with our local authorities. This is a duty given to them by the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
As independent bodies, local authorities and other duty bodies are free to determine how best to fulfil their litter clearing duties, provided they meet the standards in the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Scotland) 2006 (COPLAR).
The COPLAR provides practical guidance on the discharge of duties imposed on all relevant bodies by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to keep specified land clear of litter and refuse. It sets out what the public is entitled to expect, and also explains how a member of the public may take action where these standards are not met.
Litter and flytipping Enforcement
Police officers and designated local authority officers have the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices.
A person who is caught littering is, if the case goes to court, liable to a fine of up to level 4 on the standard scale (currently £2,500).
Anyone caught flytipping could face a penalty of up to £40,000, 12 months in prison, or both if the case goes to court. On indictment a flytipper can face an even more severe penalty of an unlimited fine and/or up to two years imprisonment - five years if it's hazardous waste.
Alternatively, the person may be offered the opportunity to pay a Fixed Penalty. This is currently £50, but Ministers have made an Order that will increase this to £80 for littering or £200 for flytipping from 1 April 2014.
Litter on Roads
Transport Scotland, through its Operating Companies, is responsible for clearance of litter on motorways and special roads; however litter clearance on the other trunk roads is the responsibility of the local authority.