Fly-tipping and Littering

– in the Scottish Parliament on 4th June 2020.

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Photo of Michelle Ballantyne Michelle Ballantyne Conservative

7. To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to help reduce fly-tipping and littering. (S5O-04386)

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government published a revised code of practice on litter and refuse in 2018, which sets out statutory guidance on the responsibilities of local authorities and other duty holders, and promotes a focus on prevention. As I mentioned in my earlier responses, we have recently developed with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and local authorities a national waste management marketing campaign and web resource that sets out how the public can manage waste responsibly at this difficult time, and which includes messages on fly-tipping and litter prevention.

Photo of Michelle Ballantyne Michelle Ballantyne Conservative

During the past week, with the easing of lockdown—[

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]—we have seen thousands of people flocking to beauty spots across Scotland, including in the Borders and along the East Lothian coast, to enjoy the sun. Many of those visitors were not respectful of the environment and dumped beer cans, cigarette butts and other litter in their wake, leaving locals to clear up the mess.

One complaint that I have had from quite a few constituents is that, because all the car parks are closed, large litter bins are not accessible to visitors. Has the Government considered reopening car parks and providing litter bins to prevent the constant dropping of litter all over the place?

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

As the member probably understands, we are almost constantly having conversations about aspects of the lockdown and how to manage behaviours that we see developing. There are active conversations about how best to deal with the issues that arise around local hot spots. First and foremost, it is the public health issue that gives us concern. Equally, there are indirect results such as those that the member discussed. The issue about car parks, public toilets and so on is a bigger issue with respect to the public health message.

We might be able to look more carefully at how litter bins can be made more available and more easily accessible. As the member will be aware, that discussion has to be had with quite a large number of organisations, from the national parks to the local authorities, and we need to think about the fact that there might be different solutions for different areas. We also have to be careful not to incentivise even worse behaviour. I refer back to the public health issue that arises when people do not pay as much attention as they should.