Fly-tipping on-the-spot fines doubled in Scotland

NFU Scotland has welcomed the introduction of tougher fixed penalties for fly-tipping offences in the countryside, but says more must be done about public awareness of waste crime and the impact it has on farmers.

From 1 January 2024, fly-tippers who dump rubbish on Scottish land now face on-the-spot penalties of £500 – more than double the previous £200 fixed penalty.

The fresh powers are being introduced under the Scottish government’s national littering and fly-tipping strategy, published last June.

See also: What to do if you’re a victim of… fly-tipping

Minister for circular economy Lorna Slater said the Scottish government “makes no apology for taking bold action” on fly-tipping, which she says was a blight in the countryside, threatening the natural environment and wildlife.

Responding to the latest announcement, NFU Scotland vice-president Andrew Connon said: “Stiffer penalties for fly-tipping are welcomed, but there also needs to be a public awareness campaign for people to understand the impact dumping rubbish has on farmers.

“We take pride in our countryside, and there is nothing more galling than seeing rubbish discarded in fields or in hedges. It’s disgusting.”

Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said the uplift in the maximum spot fine for fly-tipping is a “step in the right direction”.

But she added that alongside this welcomed deterrence, there must also be increased enforcement and prosecution.

“We need to see local authorities and police in rural areas given the support and resources they need to enforce these increased penalties and prevent these crimes from being committed in the first place.”

Official data from councils in Scotland show about 60,000 incidents of fly-tipping are recorded each year, costing in excess of £10m to clear up.

But the scale of the problem is believed to be much worse, as this figure does not include fly-tipping offences on private farmland.

England rule change

Meanwhile, the UK government has abolished charges for disposing of household DIY waste at council recycling centres in England.

From 1 January, all councils in England are scrapping charges for certain items of DIY waste, such as soil, plasterboard and rubble.

The NFU welcomed the announcement, saying it would hopefully encourage households to dispose of their waste easily at recycling centres and reduce the chances of it being fly-tipped illegally.