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Fighting the fly-tippers

EMMA HARPER, South Scotland MSP, has questioned the Scottish Government's Environment Secretary over a reported increase of illegal fly-tipping across communities the length and breadth of Scotland including in Dumfries and Galloway. The question, which followed a motion laid before the Parliament by Miss Harper to raise concerns over this issue, asked the Government what action it is taking to work with local authorities to support people who are looking to dispose of additional waste, and to tackle the illegal dumping of waste. A number of organisations – including the National Farmers Union Scotland and COSLA which represents Scottish local authorities – have spoken about the damaging impacts of fly-tipping. Reports have shown that illegal fly-tipping is putting additional strain on their resources at a time when they are responding to the challenges posed by COVID-19. Miss Harper said: “Following the motion I laid before Parliament last week to raise concerns over illegal fly-tipping across Scotland since the Covid-19 restrictions have been put in place, I was pleased to have the opportunity to raise the issue directly with the Environment Secretary. “Fly tipping is illegal and dealing with the issue – whether it be through having to clean up the mess left behind or catching and prosecuting those responsible – is putting additional strain on the resources available to local authorities who are already responding to the challenges presented by COVID-19. “I was pleased with the Cabinet Secretary's response to my question and I have written to Dumfries and Galloway Council to ask what further arrangements can be put in place to help people deal with additional household waste – particularly as the local authorities recycling centres are currently closed. However, the local authority is best placed to address this issue as staffing needs and suitable deployment of appropriate workers is a key issue in all refuse collection and disposal and I am keen to support the best decisions to be made. “My question and answer from the Environment Secretary – as well as my motion - can be viewed on the Scottish Parliament's website and on my own social media channels.” Roseanne Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said: “There is a weekly waste forum in place at the moment which involves partners in SEPA, local government, Zero Waste Scotland and the waste sector, to support resilience in disposal arrangements and waste arrangements and this is something we're keeping a close eye on. “Fly tipping is illegal, dangerous and unnecessary, regardless of the current circumstances, and absolutely should not be happening. “So the waste forum is part of the process to monitor the impact of disruption on the consequential illegal activity. Local authorities do remain responsible for managing local waste services, including fly-tipping, but that partnership working is active and ongoing and again, it's about communication as well, about how to best manage and dispose of waste at this time. “I'm sure we're all aware of situations where we can see that there has been recourse to informal waste dumping so that will continue to be a serious conversation we're having across all the parts of the sector”. Gemma Cooper, NFU Scotland Head of Policy Team, said: “Fly tipping is serious issue for many of our members and the clear increase since the lockdown measures have been so disappointing. Dumping garden waste and other materials is not only a terrible eyesore in the countryside but it can also be extremely dangerous for farm animals and other wildlife. “Animals are naturally curious and will investigate foreign objects left in their environment. Hazards can include injury from sharp edges and protruding objects or the risk of becoming caught up or entangled in waste materials. “NFU Scotland is happy to back the motion set out last Friday by Emma Harper MSP and is glad to have the matter raised in Parliament. This is a serious, nationwide issue and needs to be addressed immediately.”

<< back Published: 28 Apr 2020, 16:29