Publication - Impact assessment

National litter and flytipping consultation: strategic environmental assessment

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for the proposed actions for the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy.

National litter and flytipping consultation: strategic environmental assessment
Non-Technical Summary

Non-Technical Summary

Introduction

The Scottish Government is committed to reviewing the existing five-year National Litter Strategy[1]. Despite recent efforts and strategies, the problem of littering and flytipping in Scotland has persisted[2] and in March 2021, Keep Scotland Beautiful in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Government hosted a litter summit. This provided an opportunity to reflect on work that had been carried out under the first strategy and to start defining future priorities for tackling litter[3]. This included recognition that there is a need to treat flytipping and litter as distinct issues, which although interrelated, will allow for separate strategies to be developed that target the different drivers for littering and flytipping.

The Scottish Government is seeking views on proposals in the new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy to prevent litter and flytipped materials and improve their management. The new strategy will identify a suite of measures to help prevent litter and flytipping and reduce environmental impacts. It will build upon the previous five-year strategy and aims to provide an agile strategic framework to accommodate the changing landscape.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy (NLFS) is being undertaken to assess its likely significant environmental effects and identify ways to enhance environmental benefits and avoid, minimise or mitigate any adverse environmental effects. The findings are provided in this Environmental Report (ER). This Non-Technical Summary (NTS) provides an overview of the Environmental Report produced as part of the SEA of the proposed new strategy.

The Environmental Report presents the findings of the SEA for consultation. The following sections of this NTS:

  • provide an overview of the proposed new National Litter and Flytipping strategy;
  • describe the SEA process
  • outline how SEA has been applied to the proposed National Litter and Flytipping strategy;
  • summarise the findings of the SEA on the relevant topic areas, including an outline of the cumulative effects, any proposals for mitigation and monitoring;
  • present the conclusions and recommendations of the SEA.

What are the key elements proposed in the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy?

The new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy has the potential to achieve the following:

  • reduce the volume of waste created;
  • increase the volume of materials entering recycling;
  • divert materials from landfill;
  • reduce the amount of waste entering Scotland’s rivers, lochs and seas;
  • improve local environments and neighbourhoods;
  • encourage wider behaviour change around materials.

The new strategy will build upon the previous five-year National Litter Strategy and aims to provide an agile strategic framework to accommodate the changing policy and data landscape. It will treat litter and flytipping as separate but interrelated issues, allowing for improved targeting of measures to bring about change. The new strategy identifies a suite of measures to prevent litter and flytipping and therefore reduce impact on local environmental quality, structured according to the following four thematic areas (noting that proposals for ‘Data and Research’ in particular, may include measures that are cross-cutting with each of the other themes):

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.

Services and infrastructure: This theme recognises that in order for the prevention of litter and flytipping to be effective there needs to be services and infrastructure in place to support responsible behaviours. This includes services offered by local authorities, businesses and community groups.

Enforcement: Enforcement and deterrents are an important component of the new strategy to achieve the prevention of litter and flytipping. Its inclusion reflects stakeholder requests to review the enforcement process and procedures and to understand if alternative collaborative solutions are available (such as education or volunteering for those who cannot afford to pay fines) and effective.

Data and research: Improved litter and flytipping data is crucial to successfully understanding the root causes of the issue, evaluating the success of any interventions, collaborating successfully and monitoring progress. This includes reporting of issues by the public and communities, national reporting and monitoring, citizen science and measurable outcomes.

For more information on the new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy, please see Section 2 of the Environmental Report. Separate aims, objectives and actions have been developed for combating litter and flytipping aligned to these strategy themes, which for litter are summarised in Appendix C, and for flytipping are summarised in Appendix D.

It is noted that development of the draft National Litter and Flytipping Strategy is an iterative process and there is potential for some minor differences between the presentation of the strategy proposals in this Environmental Report and the format used in final consultation paper for the draft National Litter and Flytipping Strategy. However, the SEA has been based on the entirety of the strategy proposals and any discrepancies in the presentation of the proposed actions is not considered material in terms of the assessment of environmental effects.

What is Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)?

SEA is a statutory requirement under the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, to assess the likely significant environmental effects that a public plan, programme or strategy (PPS) will have on the environment if implemented. The process identifies how adverse environmental effects can be avoided, minimised, reduced or mitigated and how any positive effects could be enhanced. It also allows the public to give their view on the programme and its potential environmental impacts.

SEA is comprised of the following key stages:

1. Screening – determining whether a PPS requires SEA.

2. Scoping – establishing the scope and approach of the SEA, including the environmental topics to include, the context (a review of other PPS and the environmental baseline) and the assessment methodology, with the information presented in a Scoping Report, which is subject to a 5-week consultation.

3. Environmental Assessment – identifying, describing and assessing the likely significant effects of the PPS.

4. Environmental Report - outlining the findings from the environmental assessment, consistent with the requirements of Schedule 3 of the 2005 Act.

5. Main consultation - consulting on the draft PPS and Environmental Report;

6. Post Adoption Statement (PAS) – completing this statement after the PPS has been adopted. It outlines how the assessment and consultation responses have been considered within the finalised PPS.

7. Monitoring – monitoring the effects of implementation.

A combined SEA screening and scoping report for the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy was submitted to statutory consultees for consultation which ended on 20 October 2021. The SEA approach has been amended, where appropriate in response to the comments received. This scoping consultation comments and responses are documented in Appendix A.

The proposed actions for combating litter and flytipping are set out in the consultation document, published alongside the Environmental Report. The responses received and findings of the SEA will help inform the final outcome and will be reflected upon in the Post Adoption Statement.

Scottish Government will monitor the implementation and environmental effects resulting from implementing new measures to combat litter and flytipping in Scotland.

How have the environmental effects of proposed National Litter and Flytipping Strategy been assessed?

Visions, aims and actions for preventing and improving management of litter and flytipping have been assessed to identify and evaluate (where applicable) the likely significant effects that could arise from the implementation of proposed measures to combat litter and flytipping. The effects of the proposed measures have been considered with respect to the following topic areas: biodiversity, human health, water, climatic factors, material assets, and landscape and visual impacts. These topics were scoped into the SEA following the scoping stage.

Assessment criteria have been developed to ensure that the SEA focuses on significant environmental effects relevant to each scoped in topic area. The assessment criteria for this SEA are presented in Table NTS 1 below.

Table NTS 1 SEA Assessment Criteria

Biodiversity, flora and fauna

  • To safeguard terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems, including species and habitats, and their interactions
  • To avoid pollution of the terrestrial, coastal and marine environments
  • To maintain or work towards good ecological and environmental status

Human health

  • To safeguard the amenity of recreational assets
  • To safeguard human health

Water

  • To safeguard water quality, including bathing waters

Climatic factors

  • To prevent any increase in net carbon impacts and to contribute to Scotland’s journey to meet the 2045 net zero commitment.

Material assets

  • To maintain the environmental quality which supports economic activities
  • To prevent increased pressure on material assets such as landfill sites

Landscape and visual impacts

  • To protect and, where appropriate, enhance the landscape/seascape

For more information on the approach to assessment, please see Section 3 of the Environmental Report.

What are the likely significant environmental effects of the proposed National Litter and Flytipping Strategy?

The effects of proposed measures against each of the four strategy themes against SEA topic areas scoped into this analysis, namely biodiversity, human health, water, climatic factors, material assets, and landscape and visual impacts, are summarised in Table NTS 2 for litter and Table NTS 3 for flytipping.

The analysis shows that the proposed measures for combating both litter and flytipping will generate cumulative positive effects across each of the environmental topics. No cumulative significant negative effects have been identified from the assessment.

Table NTS 2 Summary of cumulative effects from actions for the prevention of litter
Litter Strategy Theme Biodiversity Human Health Water Climatic Factors Material Assets Landscape and Visual
Behaviour Change +/? +/? +/? +/? +/? +/?
Services and Infrastructure + + + + + +
Enforcement +/? +/? +/? +/? +/? +/?
Data and Research +/? +/? +/? +/? ++/? +/?
Table NTS 3 Summary of cumulative effects from actions for the prevention of flytipping
Flytipping Strategy Theme Biodiversity Human Health Water Climatic Factors Material Assets Landscape and Visual
Behaviour Change +/? +/? +/? +/? +/? +/?
Services and Infrastructure + +/? + + + +
Enforcement +/? +/? +/? +/? +/? +/?
Data and Research +/? +/? +/? +/? +/? +/?

The key to each assessment score is shown below:

Score Key:

++ Significant positive effect

+ Minor positive effect

0 No overall effect

- Minor negative effect

-- Significant negative effect

? Score uncertain

NB: Where a box contains a “?” but also another Score Key, this indicates uncertainty over whether the effect could be a minor or significant effect although a professional judgement is expressed in the Score Key used. A conclusion of uncertainty arises where there is insufficient evidence for expert judgement to conclude an effect.

In the case of the measures developed for combating litter, although positive effects are determined for each of the environmental topics, in general these are not considered to be significant, which in part is due to the high-level nature of the proposed actions, along with some additional uncertainty regarding the quantitative effects of litter on the environment and unknowns regarding implementation by relevant stakeholders. A significant cumulative positive effect is determined for the proposals related to data and research for material assets, where there are considered to be benefits in recouping the resource value of materials in litter that would otherwise be lost, as well as avoiding disposal of litter and therefore reducing pressure on landfill capacity.

In the case of the measures developed for combating flytipping, again, positive effects are determined for each of the environmental topics. None of the cumulative positive effects for the environmental topics are found to be significant, although there is considerable uncertainty identified. In principle, the proposals for enforcement should deliver positive effects for the environment but the uncertainty arises from insufficient evidence currently available to demonstrate causal links between enforcement measures and sustained reductions in flytipping. The uncertainty points to the need for further clarity, and monitoring, to assess the effectiveness of the proposed actions in changing existing levels of flytipping.

For more information on the cumulative effects, please see Section 10 of the Environmental Report.

How can potential environmental effects be effectively managed, mitigated or enhanced?

A number of measures have been identified to enhance the environmental benefits of the proposals to combat litter and flytipping and are outlined within the relevant sections. Key recommendations are:

  • Improved consistency in data collection between duty bodies should be encouraged and informed through guidance. Data reporting should be made clear and simple to users to maximise reporting rates.
  • Improving shared access to information on enforcement and prosecutions for littering and flytipping may assist in deterring repeat offenders. Enforcement levels could also be analysed against flytipping levels per local authorities/relevant organisations to find gaps or shortcomings.
  • Whilst incorporating information on flytipping into a national database would be beneficial, efforts must be made to ensure that reporting is consistent and comprehensive.
  • Consider the use of technology to streamline and facilitate the reporting of data on litter and flytipping to determine how it can improve reporting by local authorities and landowners.
  • Consider increasing the prominence of enforcement in nudging behavioural change, such as emphasising the consequences of failing to pay a fixed penalty notice and the level of potential fines associated with prosecution.
  • Provide reminders on the availability of waste recycling facilities, including the option that using recycling facilities at home may provide better outcomes for waste material rather than littering.

What monitoring is proposed?

Section 19 of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 requires the Responsible Authority to monitor significant environmental effects of the implementation of the Plan. The Responsible Authority for the new National Litter and Flytipping strategy will be the Scottish Government.

In order to ensure the intended benefits of the proposals in the new National Litter and Flytipping strategy are being realised, the following monitoring framework is proposed:

  • Scotland‘s performance against the waste hierarchy is reported annually, and improvements in reducing landfill waste and increasing utilisation of waste are regularly monitored and reported. This could be used to evaluate the level of litter and flytipping that has been prevented or the quantity of these materials diverted from landfill in to recycling routes.
  • Zero Waste Scotland periodically conducts waste studies to determine the composition of Scotland’s waste. Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Government are considering the timing and scope of these studies to support effective monitoring of the proposed measures and ensure the strategy aims are being achieved.
  • Litter and beach clean-up data collected in Scotland by organisations like Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Marine Conservation Society can be used to monitor changes in observable litter following implementation of the proposals to prevent litter and flytipping.
  • WasteDataFlow (WDF) and FlyMapper are national databases that include information on incidents and composition of flytipping. WDF is a mandatory reporting requirement for local authorities. Dumb Dumpers is an additional platform available for members of the public to report incidents of flytipping to Zero Waste Scotland[4]. These could be used to monitor any changes brought about by implementation of the proposals for flytipping. However, the Flymapper system has not been adopted universally by authorities and differences in reporting of incidents for both FlyMapper and WDF means that data can be incomplete, which complicates interpretation of the information. Proposals in the strategy to improve the consistency of reporting should provide the basis for ensuring that these databases can be used as suitable tools to monitor the effectiveness of other proposals in the strategy to prevent flytipping.
  • Records of enforcement notices, including issuing of fixed penalty fines and prosecutions for littering and flytipping, may be used to monitor the effectiveness of the proposals for enforcement, which would improve the current understanding of what works at what doesn’t and how to make best use of legislative powers.

Monitoring proposals are explored in more detail in Section 11.2 of the Environmental Report; however, these are not exhaustive. It is anticipated that as newer monitoring programmes are developed, these may be used to gather further data in relation to the effects of the measures to combat litter and flytipping across all relevant topic areas.

What were the conclusions and recommendations of the SEA?

The Environmental Report concludes that subject to the practical implementation of what are recognised to be high level visions, aims and actions for preventing litter and flytipping, the proposals in the new National Litter and Flytipping strategy have the potential to produce positive environmental effects across all of the topics assessed:

  • biodiversity, flora and fauna;
  • human health;
  • water;
  • climatic factors;
  • material assets; and
  • landscape and visual impacts.

It is anticipated that the strategy proposals will assist in preventing the presence of litter and flytipped material, thus helping to break the link between the adverse effects of these wastes on each of the environmental topics. Where incidents of litter and flytipping do occur the proposals are also expected to limit the duration that uncontrolled waste is present in the environment and improve the onward management of these materials, which is considered to be particularly beneficial to material assets and may also support a reduction in carbon emissions.

How can I comment on this Environmental Report?

Public views are now sought on the proposals for the prevention of litter and flytipping in this Environmental Report. We would welcome your views on any aspect of this Environmental Report. We are particularly interested to receive your response to the following question:

1. (a) Do you agree with the recommendations and conclusions within the Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report? Yes / No / Do not know

(b)If not, please provide detail and evidence


Contact

Email: NLFS@gov.scot