As The Scotsman today reveals shocking photographs of vast quantities of rubbish dumped illegally beneath a flyover in Glasgow – dubbed the UK capital of fly-tipping – it seems clear that current legislation is not fit for purpose.
No one should think this is simply an issue of keeping the country tidy or making it look nice.
The annual cost to the taxpayer is estimated to be some £53 million and organised crime is believed to be involved in dumping waste at Glasgow’s Blochairn area and elsewhere.
Furthermore, fly-tippers are circumventing much-needed policies on recycling and damaging the move towards a ‘circular economy’ in which nothing is wasted. Anyone who cares about the environment should be outraged by their actions.
Murdo Fraser MSP is currently working on a private member’s bill designed to improve current legislation.
He believes it is time to create a strict liability offence for those whose waste is found to have been fly-tipped, saying it “should not be a defence for someone who creates waste to say that they paid a man in a white van £50 to remove it”. Fraser also suggests it could be made a civil, rather than a criminal, offence, an approach that helped to deal with the problem of dog-fouling.
These sound like ideas whose time may have come.
As Fraser pointed out in a recent article for The Scotsman, “if we are all so proud to be Scottish, and truly care about our environment, then we need to bring the scourge of fly-tipping to an end”.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven’t already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.