Call for politicians to tackle rural waste dumping

Rubbish found dumped near Kilmory Castle, Lochgilphead earlier this year.

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Protecting rural communities from fly-tipping must be a priority for the next Scottish government, Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) said as it launched its manifesto, People, Jobs and Nature, ahead of next month’s elections.

The rural business organisation called on candidates to prioritise the issue as a matter of urgency after the election.

Fly-tipping has been an issue for some time but has increased during the pandemic as local authority waste and recycling centres were closed or had queues. Problems have remained since they re-opened.

Landowners and farmers remain plagued by fly-tippers. Throughout the pandemic picturesque sights across Scotland have been routinely spoiled by the unwelcome sight of garden and other waste.

SLE chief executive Sarah-Jane Laing said: ‘Ending the scourge of fly-tipping and healing our rural communities is at the heart of SLE’s priorities for the next parliament. In our manifesto we call on all parties to commit to prevent, detect and prosecute fly-tipping offences, with tough sentences for repeat offenders.

‘Fly-tipping has serious social, environmental and health implications. It poses a threat to people and wildlife, damages our environment and spoils people’s enjoyment of the outdoors.

‘It is more than an eyesore – it is dangerous, and it is a crime. Too many landowners and farmers find themselves in a vicious cycle of costly clean-ups. Forced, as victims, to not only have to remove potentially hazardous materials, but also to bear the financial burden of waste crime. Rural businesses can find themselves liable for bills of thousands of pounds to clean up land that has been fly-tipped, with many offered no support from their local authority.

‘We are pleased that, after representation from SLE and others, the Scottish Government agreed to give equal weight to fly-tipping in its forthcoming litter strategy.

‘We will work with the next government and all parties to protect our rural communities from fly-tipping with tough measures and comprehensive cover, to ensure victims of fly-tipping are no longer out of pocket to clear it up.’