National litter and flytipping consultation: fairer Scotland duty assessment

Fairer Scotland Duty Assessment (FSDA) for the proposed actions for the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy.

Stage 1 – Planning

This first stage is an introductory one.

The initial question to ask is: Is this a strategic programme / proposal / decision or not?

  • If it is not strategic, there is no formal requirement for a Fairer Scotland Assessment.
  • If you think this decision not to conduct an assessment may be subject to challenge at some future point, you should complete the Assessment Not Required template and store it in your local eRDM folder.
  • If the programme/proposal/decision is strategic, but has no implications for inequalities, you should complete the same template.
  • In both cases, it will be important that the decision not to conduct an assessment is signed off by a Deputy Director or more senior colleague.
  • If you're in doubt about whether an assessment should be carried out or not, we'd advise you to do so. It's good practice to think about socio-economic factors and reducing inequalities in all policy-making.

If you decide an assessment will be needed, please begin the assessment process by answering the questions below.

Please answer the questions below to help with your planning.

1. What is the aim of your policy/strategy/plan?

What main outcomes do you expect the policy/strategy/plan to deliver?

Who will it affect (particular groups/businesses/geographies etc)?

Litter and flytipping are well-documented indicators of local environmental quality and have significant social, environmental and economic impacts, and health implications.

Litter and flytipping are defined as follows;

Litter is waste in the wrong place: the wider environment. It can be all kinds of man-made materials. The Environmental Protection Act (1990) defines littering as 'throwing down or dropping an item in any public open space'.[1]

Flytipping is illegal dumping of waste - from a bin bag of household waste to large quantities of domestic, commercial or construction waste.[2]

Research indicates that at least 15,000 tonnes of litter is disposed of into our urban and rural environment and is subsequently cleared by local authorities every year. This is composed of around 250 million easily visible items.[3]

A further 26,000 tonnes of waste is flytipped each year and dealt with by local authorities, with an estimated 61,000 incidents occurring per year. This estimate excludes the vast majority of cases on private land.[3]

For both litter and flytipping these figures are likely to represent an underestimate due to data limitations.

Litter and flytipping have both direct and indirect costs for society. Scotland spends at least £53 million of public money on litter and flytipping each year in direct costs. Indirect costs are the negative impacts or consequences of litter that impact on society more widely, for example; crime, mental health and wellbeing. Research suggests that indirect costs are likely to exceed £25 million. This cost does not include any estimate for marine litter.[3]

The strategy will identify a suite of measures to prevent litter and flytipping and therefore reduce impact on local environmental quality. It will build upon the previous five year strategy 'Towards A Litter-Free Scotland: A Strategic Approach to Higher Quality Local Environments'[4] and aim to provide an agile strategic framework to accommodate the changing landscape. A review of the National Litter Strategy was completed in 2019 and provides a snapshot of the activities that took place within the first five years of the strategy.[5] Whilst progress has been made, litter still poses a significant challenge. In March 2021, Keep Scotland Beautiful in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Government hosted a litter summit;[6] this provided an opportunity to reflect on work that had been carried out under the first strategy and start to define future priorities for tackling litter.

As this is a developing strategy area, the specific actions and related policy detail have not been defined and it is therefore not possible to identify outcomes. The actions will be co-developed with a range of stakeholders through working groups and the consultation process. The following thematic areas have been identified;

  • Behaviour Change

This theme recognises the need for improved communications and engagement, but also the need to take a holistic approach to behaviour change; understanding key audiences, issues and developing a framework to identify solutions that enable behaviours to be changed. It should also be noted that the key behaviours related to litter will differ from those for flytipping. Successful measures under this theme would improve the accessibility, consistency and nature of messaging that motivates people to change their behaviour.

  • Services and Infrastructure

In order for prevention of litter and flytipping to be effective there needs to be adequate services and infrastructure in place to support people to behave responsibly. This includes services offered by local authorities, but also more widely looking to businesses and community groups. Successful measures under this theme would ensure Scotland's services and infrastructure are fit for purpose and prioritise action and innovation that proactively prevents litter and flytipping and supports a circular economy.

  • Enforcement

Enforcement and deterrents have been identified as an important link in the chain for achieving the prevention of litter and flytipping. This has been identified from numerous stakeholder calls to review the enforcement process and procedures, and to understand if alternative solutions are available (such as education or volunteering for those who cannot afford to pay fines), with collaborative measures seen as crucial. Success in relation to this theme would ensure there is a strong and consistent enforcement model across Scotland that acts as a proportional deterrent.

  • Data and research

Underpinning any next steps, improved data is crucial to successfully understanding the root causes of the issue, evaluating the success of any interventions, collaborating successful and monitoring progress. This includes reporting of issues by the public and communities, national reporting and monitoring, citizen science and measurable outcomes. Success for this theme would include an improved understanding of the behaviours, attitudes and drivers behind both littering and flytipping behaviours and develop an evidence base that can facilitate the implementation and monitoring of effective policy interventions.

Litter and flytipping have the potential to impact across society, as there are social, environmental and economic consequences. Some communities may feel the impacts more acutely due to greater exposure to litter and flytipping. The strategy will likely focus on individual behaviours.

2. What is your timeframe for completing the Fairer Scotland assessment?

A partial assessment will be completed and published to align with the consultation launch on December 13th, 2021. This should be considered a live document, subject to ongoing development as specific actions become clearer.

3. Who else in the organisation will be involved in the assessment and what roles will they be playing? We'd expect involvement from policy and analytical teams as a minimum. It is rarely appropriate for one person to conduct the assessment alone.

From Zero Waste Scotland:

  • The Zero Waste Scotland Litter and Flytipping Team for technical knowledge.
  • Members of the Policy team for assessment experience, awareness and development of the policy context.
  • Members of the Research and Evaluation team for research overview.

From Scottish Government:

  • Members of the Zero Waste Team.
  • Members from the relevant research and equality teams.



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