Fife fly-tipping: Over 300 incidents every month – just three passed on for action

Fife Council has been accused of effectively “legalising littering” after it emerged just a tiny proportion of incidents have been referred to the procurator fiscal.

By Craig Smith, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Friday, 7th January 2022, 2:01 pm

Freedom of Information requests by the region’s Liberal Democrats have revealed that Fife had one of the highest number of reported fly-tipping cases in Scotland over a two-year period from September 2019 - with only Glasgow and Edinburgh reporting more illegal dumping.

More than 300 fly-tipping incidents were reported every month across the Kingdom, a total of 8,413 over the 24-month stretch looked at by the Lib Dems, but just THREE were passed on to prosecutors for further action.

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Shocking fly-tipping site in Kirkcaldy which has since been cleared and re-developed

North East Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain has now called for more to be done to not only deter people from not disposing of rubbish properly but also to punish those responsible.

“The pandemic has created a big problem with refuse collections disrupted and tips closed for long periods of time,” she explained.

“So it’s no surprise that this has been a particular issue, but the lack of action from the Scottish Government and Fife Council has effectively legalised littering, with no consequences for people breaking the law and no recourse for those impacted.

"We want to see new restitution orders which makes offenders think again, and increased support for farmers and those who bear the brunt of fly-tipping to help them with the costs of dealing with the clear up.”

Wendy Chamberlain MP (Pic: Lisa Ferguson)

Her comments have been echoed by North East FIfe MSP Willie Rennie, who wants to see Fife Council take action.

“Not only does fly-tipping spoil the appearance of our iconic countryside and towns in Fife, but it can also be devastating for crops and animals,” he added.

“These figures show that this is a widespread issue in our area, yet only a tiny fraction of cases ever result in a fine or a trip to court.

“We need to see Fife Council using the powers at its disposal to clamp down on this disgusting behaviour and ensure that repeat offenders especially feel the full force of the law."

In response, Councillor Ross Vettraino, convener of Fife Council’s environent and protective sub committee, commented: "Fife is Scotland’s third largest local authority and it’s no surprise therefore that only Edinburgh and Glasgow are reporting higher instances of fly tipping.

“However, 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, and it has a direct impact on the condition of our roads, parks, wildlife and communities.

“Fife has 11 household waste recycling centres and 271 recycling points for local people to use.

“Our recycling centres are open, and we would urge people to make use of these facilities and dispose of recyclable waste responsibly.”

Mr Vettraino also urged people who ask others to take away their waste to ensure they are properly registered amid concerns some ‘businesses’ are discarding rubbish in the countryside.

“Businesses have a legal duty to dispose of their waste responsibly,” he stressed.

“The council has a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to any such illegal activity and will take steps to identify those doing so.

“Fines start at £200, but can increase to £40,000.

"We're grateful to the people of Fife for reporting fly-tipping and urge them to keep doing so.”