New Penalties For Fly-Tippers

Tougher new penalties for those caught fly-tipping and littering have come into force.

Scotland spends £78 million a year dealing with the two problems. Local councils spend almost half this sum - £36 million a year - on removing litter, while a further £9 million goes on clearing up fly-tipping. 

As the fixed penalty notices for both dropping litter and fly-tipping are increased, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead insisted there is ``no excuse'' for people to leave their rubbish lying around. 

The penalties for both offences were £50, but from today those caught littering could have to pay £80, while the fixed penalty notice for fly-tipping has been upped to £200. 

Failure to pay can result in prosecution, with people facing fines of up to £2,500 for littering and £40,000 for fly-tipping. 

Approximately 250 million individual items of litter are cleared up every year, including recyclable items - such as plastic bottles and aluminium cans - with a value of £1.2 million. 

At least 26,000 tonnes of waste is also dumped illegally in fly-tipping activity. 

Mr Lochhead said: ``Scotland's natural environment is one of our greatest assets and we must do everything we can to keep it clean and litter-free. It is easy to do the right thing and put your litter in the bin - there really is no excuse for littering. 

``Tackling litter and fly-tipping costs us a staggering £78 million every year. It's impacting our economy, looks terrible and in some cases is affecting public health - none of us wants to see a litter-strewn environment; be it rural or urban. 

``It's up to all of us to take responsibility for this problem and I'd encourage everyone in Scotland to take their litter home, recycle it or find a litter bin.'' 

The increase in the fixed penalty notices comes ahead of the Scottish Government publishing its national litter strategy - the first since devolution - later this year. 

A public consultation on this found ``strong support'' for upping the penalty for dropping litter, according to Stephen Hagan, the spokesman for development, the economy and sustainability for the local government body Cosla. 

He said: ``Litter and its effects have significant costs to both communities and councils. Local authorities are committed to working with their communities and partners to reduce the negative impacts of litter and fly-tipping, and fixed penalty notices are one of a number of ways in which behaviour change can be encouraged. 

``The increase from a £50 to £80 penalty for littering had strong support through the National Litter Strategy consultation and councils will seek only to use this increased financial penalty when other avenues of education and prevention have failed to stop those individuals who not only flout the law but also the efforts of the wider community to keep Scotland clean, tidy and litter-free.''