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Support grows for a fly-tipping bill increasing penalties for those engaged in the illegal practice as massive clean-up cost flagged by Highland MSP


By Scott Maclennan

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Fly-tipping at the Clootie Well on the Black Isle during one of many incidents to spark public anger and prompt calls for tougher action against offenders.
Fly-tipping at the Clootie Well on the Black Isle during one of many incidents to spark public anger and prompt calls for tougher action against offenders.

Support for a fly-tipping bill brought forward by Highland-born MSP Murdo Fraser is mounting in parliament and from rural groups concerned about the spike in the illegal practice which is said to cost Scottish taxpayers £2.5 million a year.

Mr Fraser’s member’s bill will be introduced following a consultation, after engagement with a variety of rural organisations and has won the backing of Conservative party colleague, MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston.

He said: “We have seen thousands of instances of fly-tipping across the Highlands and Islands, a problem which is only growing. What I’ve heard repeatedly is that public bodies often don’t have the powers to tackle the worst offenders – or, even when they’re caught red-handed, fines can be derisory in comparison with the costs of their behaviour.

“Fly-tipping is not just antisocial but can have a long-term impact on our natural environment. It’s time we beefed-up penalties and enforcement and sent out a clear message that dumping waste illegally will not be tolerated.”

Highlands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston
Highlands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston

NFU Scotland president, Martin Kennedy, said: “Fly-tipping is a permanent scar on our natural environment. Despite recycling centres reopening, fly-tipping and illegal dumping incidents are still being recorded daily by NFU Scotland members and are a continuous blight on rural Scotland.

“Cases in the past year alone have included rotting meat, hazardous asbestos waste, domestic appliances, household waste, builders' rubble, garden cuttings, pallets, and garage waste, including tyres and car batteries. Farmers are most often left to foot the bill for disposal – that is fundamentally unfair and must change.”

Scottish Land and Estates chief executive, Sarah-Jane Laing, said: “Scotland needs to end the scourge of fly-tipping. We welcome Mr Fraser’s intention to introduce a members’ bill as it is clear current sanctions are not acting as a deterrent and need strengthened.”

Related: Fly-tip fury sparks big-hearted clean-up

Cost of tyre dump clean-up in Wester Ross revealed


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