Two rural organisations have issued a joint call reminding the public and businesses of their responsibility to safeguard Scotland’s countryside.
NFU Scotland (NFUS) and Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) have spoken out against a backdrop of soaring levels of rubbish being left by wild campers, as well as fly-tipping of commercial and domestic waste on rural land.
Fly-tipping has been a long-standing issue for landowners, but cases spiked during the Covid-19 crisis when local authority recycling centres closed.
Despite the reopening of many centres, the organisations say fly-tipping continues at significant levels, leaving landowners facing high clean-up costs and employee health and safety concerns.
NFUS and SLE have now written to the Scottish Government setting out a range of suggested measures targeted at clamping down on fly-tipping.
These include increased penalties for offenders, and better protection and support for victims of fly-tipping.
The two organisations are also encouarging everyone visiting the countryside to do so responsibly and with respect for it as a working landscape and environment.
Recent incidents reported to NFUS and SLE include two tonnes of meat processing waste dumped in a Lanarkshire waterway, a bag of human excrement left on land near Kirriemuir, and spent oil drums on land in Perth and Kinross.
“It is both hugely frustrating and heart-breaking for the people who work on the land when it is abused by an irresponsible minority who leave rubbish behind themselves or deliberately and illegally dump rubbish and waste on farmland and estates,” said the NFUS and SLE in a joint statement.
They said as well as promoting responsible access in the countryside, more must be done to crack down on fly-tipping.