Landowners in Scotland have called for tougher fines and longer prison sentences for fly-tippers and litter louts.
The call was made by the Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) organisation in a response to the Scottish government’s national litter and fly-tipping strategy consultation.
The government had invited suggestions on enforcement, behavioural and infrastructure changes to end what it called a blight on the Scottish countryside.
As well as the tougher enforcement, the SLE urged the government to support the victims of those who dump rubbish, furniture and building materials in the countryside.
Despite being victims, farmers and landowners were being forced to remove often hazardous fly-tipped waste within seven days at their own expense, the SLE said.
It said many incidents of fly-tipping were currently not reported, and instead the victims just quietly cleaned it up. It called for an end to this practice and for a rapid introduction of new legislation that targeted fly-tippers instead.
Relevant organisations and public bodies should also work more closely together to set up a central fly-tipping database, the organisation’s response said.
This would show the full extent of the problem and allow a more co-ordinated response, the SLE suggested.
Finally, the SLE called for an education campaign on waste disposal and identifying unscrupulous removal companies which had no intention of using legal waste sites.
Policy adviser Simon Ovenden said: “The tidal wave of builders’ rubbish, household junk and toxic waste engulfing our beautiful countryside must be stopped.”
To help end this often large-scale criminal activity, Mr Ovenden called for:
- Education regarding the true impact of fly-tipping
- Tougher prison sentences
- Higher fines
- Scrapping offenders’ vehicles
- Forcing the polluter to pay for the clean-up.
Barry Fisher, the chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, added that fly-tipping was not a victimless crime.
“The impacts on communities, landowners, and our environment are wide-ranging and much more needs to be done,” Mr Fisher said.
“Enforcement is a key part of the solution to the criminal activity leading to our fly-tipping problem with provision and good access to waste disposal facilities, education initiatives and campaigns.
“We all need to do much more to tackle this waste disposal crisis,” he concluded.