Police and environment agency probe shocking fly-tipping in Fife town

Council in talks with site’s new owners to get it cleaned up
A storage unit has been left wide open and filled with rubbishA storage unit has been left wide open and filled with rubbish
A storage unit has been left wide open and filled with rubbish

Police and Scotland’s environmental regulator are both investigating the fly-tipping at Mitchelston Industrial Estate in Kirkcaldy. Fife Council is also involved in the probe.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said fly-tippers could face fines of up to £40,000 – and warned businesses and householders NOT to take up any cut price offers to remove waste.

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A spokesman said: “Fly-tipping is a serious offence with significant consequences and those caught risk a fine of up to £40,000.

The dumped rubbish is strewn across the large site of the former factoryThe dumped rubbish is strewn across the large site of the former factory
The dumped rubbish is strewn across the large site of the former factory

“We’d remind anyone being offered cut price waste clearance services that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is and could lead to a fine if your waste is then subsequently illegally dumped.

“SEPA officers are monitoring Scottish social media for illegal waste collectors or operators and are acting where appropriate.

The Press understands the council is in dialogue with the site’s news owners.

Commercial freezers are among the items dumped on the site of the former factoryCommercial freezers are among the items dumped on the site of the former factory
Commercial freezers are among the items dumped on the site of the former factory
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Dawn Jamieson, Fife Council team manager, said: “Unfortunately, in these challenging times, when our services are already under pressure, there are a growing number of reports of fly tipping around Fife. Everyone is responsible for their own waste and must dispose of their rubbish responsibly.

“We have been heavily involved in this particular site and are working with SEPA with support from the local community police to tackle the issue and pursue the offenders.

“Enquiries are ongoing at this time and we continue to carry out investigations. Our officers have also been in touch with the new landowner and have been advised their intention is to clear and secure the land.

“There’s no excuse for fly-tipping, which is a blatant disregard of the law and of our outdoor environment. No one wants to see rubbish dumped. It has a direct impact on the condition of our roads, parks, wildlife and communities.

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“Our recycling centres are now open again and we would urge people to make use of these facilities.”

Politicians also condemn the fly-tippers for scarring the landscape.

Kirkcaldy MP, Neale Hanvey, also urged the community to report fly-tippers in a bid to curb the growing problem.

He described the scale of the issue at Mitchelston as “selfish, criminal and absolutely disgraceful.”

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Mr Hanvey added: “It’s a public health hazard, a risk to the environment, and the clean-up costs us – the taxpayers – millions of pounds a year.

“At a time when council services are already stretched to the limit supporting vulnerable people and meeting the many demands of Covid-19, the last thing they need is an increase in this criminal activity.

“This is an issue that blights our community and it’ll take all of us working together, as a community, to put an end to it.

Councillors appealed to the public to help by reporting any instances they see.

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Ian Cameron (Kirkcaldy East, Lab) said the Mitchelston mess was another example of the problem now scarring the landscapes of our towns.

“This is opportunism in the extreme from those people who have chosen to show a complete lack of respect for our communities,”he said. “A mixture of household and construction waste from individuals or ‘businesses’ that chose not to pay their permit.”

He said lockdown had simply made the matter worse.

“Fly tipping, which used to be a rural problem in the main, has now become more concentrated in the towns and particularly our industrial areas, as these criminals seek to vandalise and pollute our environment. For me it is as bad as theft,” he said.

“It is a challenging time. During lockdown there are fewer people moving around, and, add to that the fact that complaints and reports of fly tipping by the public is a main source of information for the council.

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“That intelligence then was lost to a great extent during this period which normally this amounts to some 3000 reports of fly tipping each year.

Add the closure and restricted opening of re-cycling centres and we have a massive spike in the amount of fly tipping. “

He said fines of £200 needed to be increased to get the message home – and cover the costs of cleaning up the mess.

He added: “We have the total extra cost of Covid19 at around £89m for the council, and we have more and more people needing help to just survive, be it businesses or individuals who have lost their job or have had there working hours changed.

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“All of these challenges and some very selfish people only see an opportunity to add a burden to us all. I would urge them to think about the work done by our communities, the third sector, the council and the NHS during these challenging times and stop being part of the problem.”

Rod Kavanagh (Kirkcaldy East, SNP) said: “This is a shocking state of affairs and is the result of action by reckless and irresponsible individuals who care nothing for the environment or the communities in which they live.”

> If you suspect flytipping is being carried out, or to report illegal traders, contact the Dumb Dumpers Stopline by completing a form on the link below:

www.dumbdumpers.org website.

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