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Rural leaders issue plea for action on fly-tipping

Rural leaders are warning that the countryside is becoming a dumping ground.
Rural leaders are warning that the countryside is becoming a dumping ground.

Rural leaders have called for urgent Scottish Government action to tackle fly-tipping amid warnings the countryside is becoming a “dumping ground” for people’s rubbish.

A group of organisations – including Scottish Land and Estates, NFU Scotland and the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime – have written an open letter to Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham asking for clarity on how the government intends to tackle the problem.

“Scotland’s beautiful countryside continues to be blighted by people’s rubbish on a daily basis and the negative impact this is having is significant,” said the letter.

“Every week that passes by without serious action, is another week of our beautiful country being used as a dumping ground.”

The organisations urge a shift in focus away from farmers and landowners having to clean up rubbish, to a drive preventing fly-tipping in the first place.

They have issued three demands: The creation of a coordinated strategic national response to tackling fly-tipping in Scotland; more collaborative cross-sector working, with a commitment from the government to regularly bring key stakeholders together; and greater use of data to better assess the scale and impact of the problem and in turn, drive action at a regional or local level.

“With Scotland rightly perceived as leading the way on a range of environmental issues, we believe 2020 should be the year we must start to address this issue – now is the time to bring all stakeholders to the table and agree how we can collectively tackle fly-tipping,” said the letter.

“We firmly believe that by dealing with fly-tipping more effectively there are significant benefits for Scotland’s economy – as well as for society and the environment – which as we recover from a global pandemic could not be more important.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are absolutely clear fly-tipping is illegal, selfish and dangerous.

“Whatever the circumstances it is completely unacceptable and there is no excuse for this behaviour. We would remind everyone that all incidents of fly-tipping should be reported to the Dumb Dumpers website.”

He added that measures to tackle fly-tipping were outlined in the government’s national litter strategy, which is being reviewed and updated.

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