Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Scotland) 2018

This Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (COPLAR) provides guidance on fulfilling the duties under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 89.

1.0 Introduction

This Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse ( COPLAR) provides practical guidance on fulfilling the duties under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 [1] (“the Act”), Section 89. These are to, as far as is practicable:

  • keep land clear of litter and refuse (Duty 1)
  • to keep certain roads clean (Duty 2).

Bodies that are subject to the duties must have regard to this code which:

  • outlines the standard required for each duty
  • supports prioritisation of where and when to tackle problems
  • provides maximum timescales for restoring areas to the standard.

Bodies are also encouraged to undertake robust monitoring.

There are three main changes, compared with the previous code [2] :

  • an emphasis on the role of prevention (particularly for Duty 1)
  • revised grades and response times for each duty
  • greater clarity about where litter/refuse should be removed from.

This code aligns with the:

  • Scottish Government’s national litter strategy, Towards a Litter-Free Scotland [3] , which encourages litter prevention through measures which influence individuals’ behaviour
  • conclusion that prevention in public services is more efficient than treatment as identified by the Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services (The ‘Christie Commission’) [4] .

The code recognises that a range of delivery tactics, including clean up, are necessary. It provides bodies with the flexibility to widen their focus from clearing litter and refuse to more sustainable approaches.

Using their insight into who uses their land, and by collecting data through regular monitoring, bodies can develop effective local prevention tactics that reinforce Scotland-wide anti-litter messages and activities.

This code is primarily for practitioners. It is admissible evidence in court proceedings relating to the dereliction of the duties, under sections 91 [5] and 92 [6] of the Act (as amended by the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004). If any provision of this code appears to the court to be relevant to a question in the proceedings, the court shall take this code into account. The Act, and its supporting Orders, are the primary source of information for bodies making delivery decisions.

This is the 4 th COPLAR issued under Section 89 (7) of the Act. The first (in 1991) was replaced in 1999, and covered Scotland, England and Wales. The third (2006) applied exclusively to Scotland. This version replaces it. Its development was informed by a stakeholder steering group [7] .

Further advice, for practitioners and the public, about Section 89 and litter and flytipping more generally can be obtained from Zero Waste Scotland


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