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Illegal dumping: New get tough approach to ‘environmental vandals’ in Fife

illegal dumping fife
Mr Vettraino wants to get tough on "environmental vandals".

Fife’s environment convener is preparing to go into battle against illegal dumpers and fly-tippers.

Ross Vettraino is drawing up a new get tough approach to “environmental vandalism” which costs taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds a year to clean up.

illegal dumping fife
Councillor Ross Vettraino with fly tipping at Heathery wood site in Fife

And the SNP councillor is also planning talks with the procurator fiscal.

This is to ensure the service is in a position to support calls for the prosecution of more dumpers.

Mr Vettraino said: “I don’t think Fife Council does a very good job of policing the situation at the moment but watch this space.”

‘See it, say it’

Among the ammunition being proposed is more use of mobile CCTV cameras to catch people in the act.

And council officers will be knocking on the doors of waste carriers used by local businesses and asking to see their certificates.

Mr Vettraino at Warout recycling point in Glenrothes, where waste was dumped illegally.

Meanwhile, the public is urged to report any illegal activity they see.

Mr Vettraino added: “One of our officers has coined the expression ‘see it, say it’ and that’s what we’ll be encouraging people to do.

“If you see something suspicious, tell somebody about it.

“If you don’t want to take them on, note their registration number and report it.”

Scrapping the booking system for recycling centres

The Glenrothes councillor has always denied that the booking system to use Fife’s recycling centres contributes to fly-tipping.

In fact, he believes scrapping the system could cost the council more.

Cllr Ross Vettraino with council employees Sam Scofield, Cliff Mitchell and Robert Anderson.

“We did a survey that estimated commercial waste being dumped illegally at our recycling centres cost us £1.5 million a year,” he said.

“The council will now need to utilise all the resources that are available to it.”

Councillors agreed last week that bookings should stop but it has not yet been announced when that will happen.

Fly-tipping has been happening across Fife, including here in Benarty.

Mr Vettraino said: “There are two types of illegal dumping.

“There’s the type carried out by Joe Public who can’t be bothered going to a recycling centre and just dumps it in the countryside or at recycling points.

“And there’s the other type who’s taking money from the public to take their waste away and is then dumping it.

“We want to tackle both types and we don’t want to do that by way of a £200 fixed penalty.

“I want them to be prosecuted because a sheriff can fine up to £2,500 for illegal dumping.”

CCTV to catch illegal dumpers

He added: “In addition, a lot of illegal dumping takes place at recycling points at the likes of Tesco in Dunfermline.

“We’ll be using mobile CCTV cameras and moving them from one hotspot to another.

“I’ve no idea why people dump there – if the bins are full, take your rubbish away. Don’t just dump it.”

“We have to get better and smarter at monitoring our recycling points and identifying who is responsible.

“Small things like that will make a big difference.”

Fly tipping at the Westfield Energy Park.

A representative of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) will meet with Fife’s environment committee November.

A spokesman said: “We engage regularly with the agencies who report crime to us and will continue to provide support to Fife Council to further their understanding of our work.

“The Crown is committed to the rigorous, fair and independent prosecution of environmental crime.”

He said  careful consideration was given to any reports of alleged criminal conduct which are submitted by the police or any specialist reporting agency.

And he added that action would be taken if reports contained enough evidence of a crime and if prosecution was in the public interest.

Despite it’s willingness however, the Crown Office has only received 227 reports of fly-tipping across the whole of Scotland in the last four years.