PROPOSED legislation aimed at increasing efforts to combat fly-tipping has received support in south west Scotland.
It follows data from Scottish local authorities confirming 375 formal fly-tipping reports have been submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service since 2016-17, but only 15 per cent were actually prosecuted.
Dumfriesshire constituency MSP Oliver Mundell stated he was not surprised at the figures, but was disappointed, especially in light of data collated by the Scottish Conservatives showing that actual fly-tipping incidents in Scotland last year exceeded 60,000.
Mr Mundell is backing a Members Bill being put forward in the Scottish Parliament by colleague Murdo Fraser, MSP, which has already attracted cross-party support.
It aims to improve current laws around fly-tipping, ensuring better reporting mechanisms and data collection together with increased standardised penalties. NFU Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates have also expressed support.
Mr Mundell said: “Fly-tipping, along with litter and vandalism, is a serious problem in my constituency and proves damaging to wildlife and the environment as well effecting the quality of life for many.
“It can prove financially costly to farmers and other property owners, who sometimes face clearing up potentially hazardous waste.
“Sadly it has become almost routine to see items, such as old building materials and white goods, dumped at road sides and in woodlands, which ultimately has a negative effect on vital local industries such as tourism.”
Both Oliver Mundell and local MP David Mundell have lobbied Dumfries and Galloway Council to consider relaxing the pre-booking system at civic amenity facilities in order to encourage greater use of official sites. The measure was introduced on a temporary basis during the Covid emergency.
The MSP added: “These issues need to be tackled on several fronts. There needs to be a culture change towards that in some other countries, where discarding items in public and other spaces is simply considered anti-social and unacceptable.”