Litter and flytipping

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. Items such as plastic bottles and aluminum cans could be recycled with a value of £1.2 million every year. Recycling litter will contribute to a low-carbon economy and help to reduce harmful greenhouse gases.

National Litter Strategy

The Scottish Government held a consultation (in summer 2013) outlining fresh action to tackle litter and flytipping and to increase recycling in busy public places. The consultation responses will inform our National Litter Strategy for Scotland, which we intend to publish in 2014.

The analysis of responses to the National Litter Strategy Consultation was carried out by our resource efficiency delivery partner Zero Waste Scotland, and can be viewed on the Zero Waste Scotland website.

The National Litter Strategy will enhance and reinforce work already underway across public, private and third sector organisations. We will work with 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

The Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) is £80 for littering and £200 for flytipping. These levels came into effect on 1 April 2014.

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.

litterWho 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 fine of up to £40,000, 12 months in prison, or both if the case goes to court. On indictment a flytipper can face an unlimited fine and/or up to two years imprisonment - five years if it's hazardous waste.

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.