A rise in “man-with-a-van” collection services could be behind a surge in fly-tipping across Aberdeenshire, council bosses believe.
Aberdeenshire Council is urging residents, businesses, and commercial waste handlers to make sure they use drop-off facilities instead of dumping their rubbish.
They believe that there has been a rise recently in collection companies who fail to register for trade waste disposal and dump items illegally.
Aberdeenshire Council waste manager Ros Baxter said: “There is a misconception that the introduction of a booking system at our household recycling centres is somehow to blame for fly-tipping – it is not.
“Booking simply enables any resident of Aberdeenshire to safely visit an HRC at a time of their choosing to deposit domestic waste without having to wait in queues. Similarly, our trade waste centres are easy to access for licensed waste handlers.
“The real issue in Aberdeenshire appears to be in the surge in offers from ‘man-with-a-van’-type collection services which are unlicensed, fail to register for trade waste disposal and will dump any type of waste without questioning the risks that might pose.”
Incidents of fly-tipping
Fly-tipping has been on the increase throughout the north and north-east of Scotland during lockdown, with recycling centres moving to booking-only due to Covid.
Commercial waste and household items are being dumped more often, prompting an urgent appeal from Aberdeenshire Council.
Recent pictures have shown tyres being dumped along the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road.
More than 150 tyres were also dumped along the A890 in Strathcarron in the Highlands yesterday.
Other badly affected areas include Garioch, Peterhead and Fraserburgh.
Statistics released last year showed that fly-tipping had increased during lockdown in Aberdeenshire.
How you should dispose of waste
In Aberdeenshire extended drop-off sessions were introduced in July at three waste transfer stations at Ellon, Macduff, and Crow’s Nest Banchory.
Materials accepted include cardboard, garden waste, rubble, soil, wood, plasterboard, and non-recyclable waste.
No pre-booking is required for dropping off waste which is accepted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7.30am to 10.30am.
All companies who transport waste must register with Sepa, and if you do it but are not registered you can face a fine of up to £5,000.
Ms Baxter urged every resident of the region to make sure their household waste is disposed of properly.
She said: “It is important to remember that every resident of Aberdeenshire is responsible for their own household waste and the manner in which it is disposed of.
“Before allowing any waste to be taken away, you should take a note of the vehicle registration number, ask to see a waste carrier’s licence, ask the carrier exactly which licensed facility your waste is going and be suspicious if their quoted price is too low.
“If the person taking the waste won’t grant your request, then the chances are your waste will be illegally dumped and you risk being given a fixed penalty notice as a consequence.”
Fly-tipping in parliament
Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett drew attention to this spike in illegal dumping at Holyrood’s finance committee today.
Landfill tax rates are about to be increased across Scotland, rising from £94.15 per tonne to £96.70 on April 1, in line with the rest of the UK.
Councils will have to pay this tax.
He asked public finance minister Ivan McKee whether the SNP government has any initiatives in place to stop a spike in illegal dumping, following an “epic” rise in fly-tipping.
Mr McKee responded: “I understand it is an issue that local authorities and others, enforcement agencies, SEPA the police, and others deal with on an ongoing basis. It’s a completely unacceptable practice and completely unnecessary.”
Mr Burnett added: “The spike in illegal tipping is being seen across Aberdeenshire and the north-east.
“Driving down landfill use is important.
“But there needs to be a sensible plan in place to help councils crackdown on activities blighting our towns and villages – which will also help reduce landfill.
“I am disappointed Mr McKee and the SNP have failed to do so in this parliament.”
You can check with Sepa about registered waste-carriers on 0300 099 6699.
If you want to report fly-tipping, contact Aberdeenshire Council by phoning 03456 081207 or by visiting here.