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People urged not to fly-tip in farmers' fields


By Alison Cameron

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Just some of the fly-tipping seen in farmers' fields.
Just some of the fly-tipping seen in farmers' fields.

Scotland’s leading rural and environmental organisations have issued a statement in relation to the rise in fly-tipping during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Representatives from five organisations – Scottish Land and Estates, NFU Scotland, Scottish Partnership against Rural Crime, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Zero Waste Scotland – have released the following joint statement:

“Over the past few weeks, we have seen Scotland’s beautiful countryside being blighted even more with people’s junk. Farmers’ fields, laybys and lanes have become hot spots for DIY remnants, unwanted furniture and garden waste.

“At a time when farmers are working around the clock to provide food for the nation and trying to keep their businesses running despite being short staffed, it is heart breaking to see their land being used as a giant tip. Additionally, local authorities have been forced to temporarily reduce or suspend some services due to the crisis, they are prioritising essential services to protect public health, therefore dealing with fly-tipping at this time puts added pressure on this limited resource.

“We are pleading with people not to be selfish. Now is not the time to try and get rid of items following a spring clean or DIY project, we are urging you to keep them at home until recycling centres re-open and charities begin to collect furniture and clothing again. Please don’t be taken in by offers of cheap disposal – that’s likely to lead to others fly-tipping your items. Keeping items on your own property for a few weeks is better than taking part in a criminal act that could have longer term consequences, not to mention a fine of up to £40,000.

“Fly-tipping is illegal, ugly and dangerous. It can be harmful to lambs, calves and other animals and wildlife too. But for farmers and other landowners, it is also costly to clean up. Dealing with litter and fly-tipping costs an eye watering £53 million of public money in Scotland every year, and that’s only in relation to public land. This money could be better spent elsewhere, particularly at this time.

“When litter and fly-tipping occur on private land such as farmers’ fields, it is down to the owner to have it removed – and to foot the bill for doing so. The costs involved are huge. The effects are not all financial either. Fly-tipping takes time to clear responsibly, can block access, and can cause issues around health and safety.

“The public can also help by acting as the eyes and ears of their community – we urge anyone who notices fly-tipping to report it, so it can be dealt with by the appropriate authority. This can be done in a number of ways, including through the online Dumb Dumpers website or reporting directly to the relevant local authority.

“As rural and environmental organisations, we are working together to stop fly-tipping – but we can only do it with the public’s support.”

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