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Campaign to force fly tippers to clean up

The Scottish Conservatives have launched a new campaign to tackle fly tipping.

Last year, Police Scotland recorded just 61 fly tipping offences even though environmental bodies suggesting the true total is more than 60,000.


The Scottish Conservative campaign, led by Margaret Mitchell MSP will tackle the scourge of fly tipping by strengthening Scottish legislation and increasing the use of Community Payback Orders for those who fail to pay fines.

Currently anyone convicted of fly tipping would face a fine of up to 40,000. If the fine is not paid, the Scottish Conservatives would encourage the use of a Community Payback Order which would include an unpaid work element of clearing up a fly tip - potentially the mess they themselves had created.

The Scottish Conservatives will give Scottish local authorities the same powers as their counterparts in England & Wales which would allow them to recover fly tip clean-up costs and allow vehicles used to dump waste to be seized.

Margaret Mitchell, Scottish Conservative MSP for Central Scotland said:

“Fly-tipping is a scourge on our landscape and a hazard for humans and wildlife alike.

“This is an escalating problem and the alarming fall in fly tipping offences confirms that the Scottish Government is doing little or nothing to deal with the problem.

“The Scottish Conservative campaign will give local authorities the powers to recover clean up costs and provide more people to pick up what has been left behind.

“The Scottish Conservatives will empower local authorities to take on this challenge.”



Notes to editors:


Police recorded just 61 flytipping offences last year despite environmental bodies suggesting the true total is more than 60,000 – can be found here

The Scottish Conservative Campaign would:


  • Increase use of CPOs for failing to pay fines
  • Give Scottish authorities the same powers as their counterparts in England & Wales to allow authorities to recover clean-up costs and seize vehicles used to dump waste.



The Environmental Protection Act prohibits disposal of waste without a permit. (Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 33 (Scotland), link).


Various fines can be issued for committing this offence. If the case goes to court, a fly-tipper could face a penalty of up to £40,000 and/or six months in prison. On indictment (for more serious cases) a fly-tipper can face an unlimited fine and/or two years imprisonment (5 years if it's hazardous waste, referred to as ‘special waste’). (Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 33 (Scotland), link).


Fixed penalty notices can also be issued. A fixed penalty notice is an opportunity for someone suspected of committing an offence to make a payment of a fixed amount, within a certain time, as an alternative to court action being taken against them for that offence. Section 33A allows for fixed penalty notices to be issued by the police, authorised local authority officers and authorised officers of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority in suspected fly tipping incidents. The fixed penalty amount is set at £200 payable within 14 days. (Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 33A (Scotland), link).


Failure to pay fines can result in a Community Payback Order (CPO). According to the Scottish Sentencing Council, ‘Offenders who don’t keep up with payments can be taken back to court and another sentence can be given instead. This could be a Community Payback Order or prison.’ (SSC, Sentences and Appeals, link).


We are proposing the unpaid work element of a CPO in this instance should include clearing up the waste. This would involve proper channels of communication between environmental agencies, the courts and local authority criminal justice social work departments.


We would also give Scottish authorities the same powers as their counterparts in England & Wales. The following provisions do not currently apply in Scotland. We would transfer them:

  • Section 33B allows authorities to recover clean-up costs. It says that a compensation order can be made by a court for the costs incurred by agencies, occupiers or owners of the land in removing waste or ‘taking other steps to eliminate or reduce the consequences of the deposit or disposal’ (Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 33B, link).
  • Section 33C allows vehicles used to dump waste to be seized. It says that an order can be made to ‘deprive the offender of his rights in the vehicle’ if ‘the court is satisfied that a vehicle was used in or for the purposes of the commission of the offence’. The law requires the court to have regard to the value of the vehicle, the financial and other effects of this on the offender and the offender’s need to use the vehicle for a lawful purpose. (Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 33C, link).
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