Littering

– in the Scottish Parliament on 20th August 2020.

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Photo of Jamie Halcro Johnston Jamie Halcro Johnston Conservative

8. I am delighted.

To ask the Scottish Government what action Police Scotland is taking in response to littering in popular visitor areas over the summer. (S5O-04499)

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

Littering is totally unacceptable, and Police Scotland is alert to the littering in our beauty spots. Officers have powers to issue on-the-spot fines for littering and fly-tipping, which are criminal offences for which fixed penalties can be issued—however, as I am sure that the member knows, fixed penalties for littering are normally issued by local authorities. Different levels of fine apply, depending on the offence and on whether a fixed-penalty notice is issued by a police officer or a procurator fiscal.

The Scottish Government has partnered with Zero Waste Scotland and Keep Scotland Beautiful to develop a national anti-littering campaign, which launched on 15 July, and we are working with local authorities and Police Scotland on what more can be done to protect our environment and rural communities in Scotland.

Photo of Jamie Halcro Johnston Jamie Halcro Johnston Conservative

The cabinet secretary will be aware that communities across the Highlands and Islands have reported increases in littering, many of which are linked to incidents of irresponsible wild camping. I recognise that a number of public bodies are involved in promoting good practice, but, ultimately, enforcement must form part of combating the problem.

How are the police engaging with local communities on the issue, and is the cabinet secretary confident that they have adequate powers and resources to police rural areas and protect Scotland’s natural environment?

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

Jamie Halcro Johnston raises a very important point. We want people to take holidays and staycations in Scotland, but we want them to act responsibly. First and foremost, of course, the onus is on the individual who is camping or holidaying in Scotland.

I raise the issue with Police Scotland regularly, and the chief constable and I have spoken about it in weeks gone by. It has not been raised with me that there is a lack of powers, but I am happy to re-engage with Police Scotland and local authorities if they feel that there is a need for further enforcement powers. The Scottish Government would be open to exploring that.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

That ends that batch of—

Photo of James Kelly James Kelly Labour

On a point of order, Presiding Officer.

I ask that the Parliamentary Bureau reflect on how these sessions are run. There was no time in that session for supplementaries to be taken on important issues such as the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill and the Government’s failure to address spent convictions.

It is important that members on the front and back benches have an opportunity to put their views across. The Parliamentary Bureau needs to reflect on that, in order to ensure that parliamentary scrutiny is not compromised.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Thank you very much.

In accordance with standing orders, there is a section for each type of question. You know my policy: I try to let members who take the trouble to lodge a question to ask that question, and I go for political balance—I do not really need to explain all that to you. The running of portfolio questions is strictly for me. However, we have a strict timetable—I see that you are perched to reply, but this is not a debate.

We are going straight on to questions about the constitution, Europe and external affairs. What James Kelly said about the Parliamentary Bureau has, no doubt, been noted.