We are all responsible for dealing with waste in Scotland. See the Tackling Waste section for how you can help.
Litter and flytipping as a Zero Waste issue
The Scottish Government wants fresh action and solutions to tackle litter and flytipping to help deliver a zero waste society in Scotland. We work with Zero Waste Scotland and other partners to deliver such action.
We are currently developing Scotland's first national litter strategy and hosted a summit in March 2013 to bring together organisations with responsibilities for tackling litter to help identify priority actions.
We are keen to see the number of 'Recycle On The Go' facilities increase substantially. Recycling facilities in busy public places can turn the problem of litter into a resource for Scotland. Through Zero Waste Scotland around £850,000 was invested in thousands of new 'Recycling on the Go' bins during 2012-13.
To help raise awareness of the problem of litter, the Scottish Government currently provides funding through Zero Waste Scotland for Keep Scotland Beautiful to support local authorities in their role tackling litter in public places.
Keep Scotland Beautiful’s new Clean Up Scotland campaign aims to build on the success of National Spring Clean by engaging up to one million people over 2013 and 2014 to help clean up 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 fly-tipping 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 fulfill their litter clearing duties, provided they meet the standards in the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (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
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). Alternatively, the person may be offered the opportunity to pay a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £50. Increasing the FPN for litter and flytipping is one option being considered as part of the developing litter strategy, to be consulted on from this summer.
Police officers and designated local authority officers have the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to those who litter.
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 its hazardous waste - and the police also have the power to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice.
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.