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Councils team up to battle fly-tipping as lack of prosecutions laid bare

Perth and Kinross Council has teamed up with Angus and Dundee City councils to tackle the scourge of fly-tipping.

The three Tayside councils are working together on a new campaign encouraging residents to make sure they dispose of their waste properly and not to get taken in by rogue traders.

Fly-tipping has been a major issue in Perth and Kinross over the past few years and became a massive problem during the lockdowns.

With recycling centres closed, many people paid to have their waste removed.

But in many instances, those taking the rubbish turned out to be fraudsters who, rather than disposing of it responsibly, would just dump it.

Last year the PA reported that Perth and Kinross had become Scotland’s dumping ground, with waste from 50 miles away discovered.

People caught fly-tipping can face anything from a £200 fixed penalty to a fine of £40,000 if prosecuted.

As well as being unsightly, it poses a threat to wildlife, pets and livestock and pollutes the environment. It also costs councils, landowners and farmers thousands of pounds each year to clean up.

Perth and Kinross Council environment and infrastructure convenor Councillor Angus Forbes said: “Fly-tipping is a serious crime that harms the environment.

“If you hire a waste collector, please make sure they are registered with SEPA. It is your responsibility to make sure waste is disposed of properly and if this doesn’t happen then it could be you that ends up fined. Your waste is your responsibility.”

The new initiative comes as a Perthshire -based MSP calls for more action on fly-tipping.

Murdo Fraser MSP, a Conservative member for Mid Scotland and Fife, is am putting together a Members’ Bill on the issue.

He wants to see it treated as a civil matter rather than criminal and pointed to what he called a “shockingly low” number of fly-tipping cases facing prosecution.

Mr Fraser was reacting to figures which reveal only nine cases of fly-tipping reported by local authorities to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, ended up at summary court level out of 114, over a period of four years.

The information, which was supplied following a FoI request by the Scottish Conservatives, shows that 21 fiscal fines were issued during the period from April 1, 2017 up to March 31, 2021, and no action was taken on 79 cases.

Mr Fraser said: “These are cases where people were charged and reported to COPFS by local authorities with knowingly depositing controlled waste.

“These councils would undoubtedly have put in a lot of work to seek some legal action, only to find out that the majority of such cases didn’t reach prosecution stage.

“I am focused on changing the law to clamp down on fly-tipping by toughening up fines to act as more of a deterrent, as it is apparent that the current penalties are not working. Cutting down on the inconsiderate crime of fly-tipping would deliver a huge boost to Scotland’s environment in the year of COP26.”

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