Information

National litter and flytipping consultation: strategic environmental assessment

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


6. Water

The marine and freshwater environments around Scotland are used for a variety of industrial and recreational activities including salmon and sea trout fisheries, recreational sea angling, sailing, cruising, bathing and recreational tourism. Coastal recreation opportunities make an important contribution to human health as well as coastal economies.

Marine, fishing and shipping litter and beach litter form a serious potential source of pollution and contamination of water. Litter and flytipping can also have a detrimental effect on water infrastructure by blocking sewers and stormwater overflows and causing flooding.

This section provides the contextual information to inform the assessment (in terms of the review of Plans, Programmes and Strategies (PPS) and the baseline information) as well as an assessment of the effects of the proposals for the prevention of litter and flytipping, regarding water impacts.

6.1 Relationship with other Plans, Programmes, Strategies and Environmental Objectives

The PPS that are relevant to water topic that have been reviewed to inform the assessment of the proposals for the prevention of litter and flytipping are shown in Figure 6-1 and summarised thereafter.

Figure 6-1 Plans, Policies and Strategies related to Water

Plans, Policies and Strategies (PPS)

International PPS

  • UN Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention)
  • Protocol on Water and Health (programme 2020-2022)

European PPS

  • Bathing Water Quality Directive
  • EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive
  • Floods Directive
  • EU Water framework Directive
  • Drinking Water Directive

UK PPS

  • Environmental Protection Act

Scottish PPS

  • Bathing Water (Scotland) Regulations
  • Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act
  • The Marine (Scotland) Act
  • The Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland)
  • Bathing Water (sampling & analysis) Directions
  • Public Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations
  • Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012
  • The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations
  • The River Basin Management Plan for the Scotland River Basin District (2015-2027)
  • Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act
  • Scotland's National Marine Plan
  • The National Flood Risk Assessment (2015-21)

6.1.1 International level

United Nations (2015): Transforming our World - the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets out 17 global goals agreed by the United Nations. These goals are embedded within the agenda for 15 years and include commitments to protect the planet through sustainable consumption and sustainable management of resources. The National Litter and Flytipping Strategy supports the 17 global goals in seeking to embed sustainability and resource minimisation across all sectors of society. Some of the key sustainable development goals relevant to Water are, Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all; Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; and Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. The Protocol on Water and Health (programme 2020-2022), jointly serviced by UNECE and WHO-Europe, is a unique legally binding instrument aiming to protect human health by better water management and by reducing water-related diseases. The Protocol provides a practical framework to translate into practice the human rights to water and sanitation and to implement Goal 6.

The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) was adopted in Helsinki in 1992 and entered into force in 1996. The Convention is a unique legally binding instrument promoting the sustainable management of shared water resources, the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the prevention of conflicts, and the promotion of peace and regional integration.

6.1.2 European level

The EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) safeguards the use of surface water, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater. It supports the status of aquatic ecosystems and associated environments and addresses issues such as groundwater pollution and river basin management planning. The Water Framework Directive includes a requirement for member states to carry water assessments on both chemical and ecological status, alongside additional requirements to consider the status of biodiversity as an indicator in determining overall water quality.

Floods Directive (2007/60/EC) focus on avoiding or limiting the impacts of flood risk and establishes a framework for the reduction of the adverse consequences of flood for human health, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activity. Blockages to infrastructure from litter and flytipping are potential contributory factors to flooding incidents.

EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC) (MSFD) which sets out a comprehensive approach to protect and preserve Europe’s marine environment, prevent its deterioration or, where practicable, restore marine ecosystems in areas where they have been adversely affected, as well as prevent and reduce inputs in the marine environment, with a view to phasing out pollution. It also set controls for water quality against Indicator 8 (Concentrations of contaminants are at levels not giving rise to pollution effects) and 9 (Contaminants in fish and other seafood for human consumption) do not exceed levels established by Community legislation or other relevant standards can be reviewed as an indicator of water quality.

The Bathing Water Quality Directive (2006/7/EC) sets out a comprehensive approach to the monitoring and classification of bathing water quality, the management of bathing water quality, and the provision of information to the public on bathing water quality.

The Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC) at the European level which put in place measures to prevent and control any adverse health effects arising from the contamination of water resources.

6.1.3 UK level

UK Government (1990):The Environmental Protection Act (EPA) establishes legal responsibilities for pollution control for land, air and water.

6.1.4 Scottish level

Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act, 2003: Protects the water environment including groundwater, surface water and wetlands, for, or in connection with the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and guides the establishment of River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs). The new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy is aligned to these goals as it aims to prevent litter and flytipping materials entering the water environment.

Bathing Waters (Scotland) Regulations 2008 (as amended) and the Bathing Waters (Sampling & Analysis) (Scotland) Directions 2008 transposing the bathing Water Quality Directive. The new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy aims to reduce littering of the marine and coastal specifically concentrating on reducing the number of waste items entering water drainage systems and discharging into coastal bathing waters.

Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 which mandates the creation of Flood Risk Management Strategies and Local Flood Risk Management Plans. By preventing waste material entering the drainage and water infrastructure the new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy may support improved flood management in Scotland.

The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 provides a framework to help balance competing demands on Scotland's seas. It includes a duty to protect and enhance the marine environment and includes measures to help boost economic investment and growth in areas such as marine renewables. Following this, Scotland’s National Marine Plan 2015[97] was produced, which provides a framework for managing all developments, activities and interests in or affecting Scotland’s marine area (territorial and offshore waters). The National Marine Plan sets out high-level objectives, general policies and sectoral policies. These includes general policies to prevent adverse impacts on coastal processes and flooding, to reduce marine litter, and to maintain marine water quality.

Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012 which aims to specifically control pollution relating to industry discharges, including control of waste materials. The new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy can help ensure waste materials are disposed of appropriately.

The Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2013 sets out regulations to ensure that farmed and wild fisheries – and their interactions with each other – continue to be managed effectively. The Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 2003 consolidates legislation relating to salmon and freshwater fisheries in Scotland. The Act sets out regulation with regard to the methods of fishing for salmon and freshwater fish. The new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy will aim to prevent litter and flytipping contaminating fishing water or degrading the environment around water access.

The Public Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2014 regulations transpose the Drinking Water Directive.

The National Flood Risk Assessment (2015- 21) published by SEPA. The risk assessment identifies the Potentially Vulnerable Areas and the risk associated with flooding in these areas. Relevant actions will be identified in the regional plans. Flood Risk Management Strategies set out actions to manage flood risk and the impact of flooding in high risk areas, within specific flood risk management districts.

The River Basin Management Plan for the Scotland River Basin District (2015 – 2027)[98] outlines the actions required to protect Scottish waters in good condition and to improve the quality of others.

The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations, 2018 outlines different levels of authorisations to allow for proportionate regulation of the water environment. Scotland’s waters are monitored by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to measure performance and compliance with targets for water quality status under the Water Framework Directive. Scottish Water is a publicly owned company and Ministers are required to set its objectives for investment and principles for charging consumers. The Scottish Government is in the process of defining objectives and principles of charging for the next regulatory period of 2021 to 2027[99].

6.2 Baseline Characteristics

6.2.1 Water Quality

Approximately 80% of all global marine pollution is caused by human activities on land in the form of solid waste leakage including plastic from inadequate waste management; sewage disposal into water bodies such as rivers and coastal waters; urban storm-water run-off; sediment mobilisation; inadequately treated waters from industries; discharges of phosphorus and nitrogen used in agriculture; and dumping of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants[100]. Sea-based marine pollution includes abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG), pollution from aquaculture, oil spills, and pollution from sea-based activities such as shipping and tourism[101].

Scotland has 86 designated bathing waters which have been given special protection because they are popular bathing locations[102]. Of these areas, 59 are assessed as excellent or good status, 16 are assessed as being at target objective and 11 are assessed as at poor status, although it is not confirmed whether a poor status is specifically due to litter and flytipping or other sources of pollution, such as sewage.

In Scotland, a total of 1,533 items of litter were recorded from 1,635 sea-floor trawls between 2012 and 2018 inclusive[103]. Litter was observed in 44% of trawls, which usually contained one (53%) or two (24%) items, with a maximum of 18. The majority of litter items (74%) were categorised as plastic. A spatial map was produced of averaged modelled sea-floor litter densities in the seas between 2016 and 2018 inclusive, which shows that the highest densities occur in the North Sea, whilst the lowest densities occur off-shore to the West of Scotland (Figure 6-2).

Figure 6-2 Modelled sea-floor litter densities averaged over 2016 to 2018 inclusive
Map of modelled sea floor litter densities, 2016 to 2018.

The spatial map shows modelled sea-floor litter densities averaged over 2016 to 2018 inclusive, with biogeographic regions denoted by dotted internal boundaries, and areas distant from survey trawls by stippling[104]

Microplastics (plastic particles less than 5mm in dimension), are also of particular concern. Microplastics, are present in the surface waters of all the Scottish sea areas surveyed, with fragmented plastics accounting for almost 50% of the microplastics recovered from the sea surface from 2013/14 - 2019/20 in Scottish waters[105].

Annual beach surveys provide an indication of the level of litter present in the marine environment, which is eventually deposited on land. The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Great British Beach Clean identified that in Scotland beach litter rose by 6% in 2017 compared with 2016 in terms of the number of litter items identified[106]. As reported in Section 4.2 for Biodiversity baseline characteristics, the most recent figures from the MCS survey of beaches in Scotland averaged 559 items of litter/100m in 2018[51], 492 items of litter/100m in 2019[49], and 298 items of litter/100m in 2020[49] (although noting that beach litter survey data for 2020 may reflect the impact of restrictions for COVID-19).

In 2017 a total of 57,961 litter items were collected from 111 beaches in the UK as a whole, averaging 490 pieces of litter from every 100 metres cleaned, compared to 194 pieces of litter in 2013, an increase of approximately 250% in four years. The top five most common litter items on UK beaches in 2020 (average per 100m of beach surveyed)[107], were as follows:

  • Plastic and polystyrene pieces (0-50cm): 167.2
  • Plastic and polystyrene caps and lids: 19.7
  • Wet wipes: 17.7
  • Cigarette stubs: 16.2
  • Plastic string: 15.8

The integrity of flood defences can also be potentially undermined due to litter and flytipping. Drains and weirs need to be cleared and protected to efficiently divert waters away from vulnerable flood zones[108]. The high cost of cleaning and potential damage as a result of defence failures, heightens the overall impact litter in the wate environment has on society.

6.2.2 Likely Evolution of the Baseline without the NLFS

In the absence of the new National Litter and Flytipping strategy, littering and flytipping is expected to continue increasing as the economy returns to pre-pandemic levels. The presence of litter and flytipped material in the water environment and related adverse effects is likely to continue without the introduction of proposals in the strategy.

6.3 Consideration of likely significant effects

6.3.1 Methodology

The new National Litter and Flytipping strategy has the potential to have a range of effects on the Scottish water environment by preventing or limiting waste materials entering and affecting this environment. The assessment considers the anticipated effects on the water environment through the implementation of the proposed actions to prevent litter and flytipping, developed across the four strategy themes: behaviour change; infrastructure and services; enforcement; and data and research.

Although the adverse impacts of litter and flytipping on the water environment may be similar it is recognised that litter and flytipping are distinct issues with different drivers, so the assessment provides separate appraisals of the actions proposed for the Litter strategy (Table 6-1) and the Flytipping strategy (Table 6-2). The SEA criteria for assessing the effects on water are listed at the start of each table. The effects against these criteria are considered against a baseline which is effectively a continuation of the existing National Litter Strategy.

6.3.2 Results

The tables below provide summary assessments of the likely significant environmental effects of implementing proposed actions to prevent litter and flytipping across the four strategy themes, with regard to water. Table 6-1 presents the results of the assessment of actions for Litter and Table 6-2 present the findings assessing the actions for the Flytipping.

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.

Table 6-1 Assessment of Effects of Litter Actions on SEA Criteria for Water

Litter Strategy

Water

SEA Criteria:

  • To safeguard water quality, including bathing waters.

Behaviour Change – Actions

Overall Score: +/?

Conduct research to understand the full range of influences on littering behaviours across various contexts and audience groups.

Action Score: +/?

Develop a sustained, evidence based, national anti-littering campaign and deliver this consistently and collaboratively across Scotland.

Action Score: +

Commentary:

The actions for behaviour change on littering are expected to provide increased awareness of the reasons for littering and how this effects water quality (including the marine environment). This is likely to have some positive effects in safeguarding water quality, although the effectiveness of proposed actions is uncertain A national campaign to litter prevention and behaviour change is expected to improve beach litter prevention and water quality. A collaborative approach with programmes such as the proposed updates to the Marine Litter Strategy[13] for Scotland will help to support the reduction of litter entering the marine environment.

Services and Infrastructure – Actions

Overall Score: +

Explore the use of flexible and innovative interventions to support litter prevention and removal.

Action Score: +/?

Establish an action focused group to encourage collaboration and share best practice between local authorities, national parks and other duty bodies to optimise services

Action Score: +

Create a national litter hub to provide information and advice to community groups.

Action Score: +

Increase the use of citizen science to support data on levels and composition of litter.

Action Score: +

Carry out a review of the development, implementation and progress of the Code of Practice for Litter and Refuse (2018).

Action Score: ?

Commentary:

Exploring innovation on litter prevention may already be incorporated into existing water legislation and regulations, but the use of more flexible cleansing and litter and waste services and participation in innovation and sharing know how could have a positive impact in safeguarding water quality.

Actions increasing collaboration between organisations are expected to safeguard water quality including bathing water quality, especially with regard to information sharing. The creation of a national litter information hub is also expected to help water quality by helping to limit the extent to which litter remains in the environment where it could pollute water courses.

The use of citizen science could benefit water quality, for example, by capturing information from campaigns by the Marine Conservation Society[109], or for the River Clyde where the length of the river was litter picked and reported on (Keep Scotland Beautiful Upstream battle campaigns)[110]. Working in partnership with such organisations is expected to assist the Litter strategy and benefit the quality of the water environment. It is not clear whether a review of the Code of Practice for Litter and Refuse (COPLAR) will result in any changes beyond those currently established for preventing and reducing the impacts of litter in the environment, so this is considered to have an uncertain effect for the water environment.

Enforcement – Actions

Overall Score: +/?

Conduct an evidence review of barriers to enforcement of litter offences.

Action Score: ++/?

Explore raising current fixed penalty notice amounts for a litter offence.

Action Score: +/?

Develop guidance on enforcement best practices and seek agreement for this to be voluntarily adopted by Local Authorities and National Parks.

Action Score: ++/?

Review current powers for enforcing littering offences.

Action Score: +/?

Explore potential alternative penalties to monetary fixed penalties for a litter offence.

Action Score: ?

Explore using civil penalties in relation to littering offences.

Action Score: ?

Create fixed penalties for the registered keeper of the vehicle for littering from vehicles.

Action Score: +/?

Commentary:

Currently, there is no designated statutory body in the UK responsible for clearing aquatic litter, namely in rivers and estuaries, with an exception being in the event of flooding[111]. Riparian owners and land owners are sometimes responsible for the maintenance of rivers and clearing of litter in rivers and sometimes Local Authorities have powers to act[112]. As discussed previously in the assessment of Enforcement actions in relation to Biodiversity (see Table 4-3), there is evidence indicating that stringent enforcement measures lead to fewer incidences of littering. In light of the lack of designated statutory body responsible for clearing aquatic litter, there is reason to suggest that the actions leading to improved enforcement of anti-litter laws would prevent litter entering the water environment and be beneficial in safeguarding water quality. The extent to which enforcement measures are voluntary adopted does result in some uncertainty regarding potential implementation. It is thus important that existing powers are thoroughly reviewed, with close collaboration with other participants.

Based on the reasons referred to in the earlier section on Biodiversity (Table 4-3), it is considered that raising fixed penalties for littering above existing levels and introducing legislation to strengthen enforcement of litter from vehicles by issuing a fine to the registered keeper of the vehicle, may be beneficial in deterring littering, which would have a positive impact on safeguarding water quality, although the level of significance is uncertain. It is considered that there is insufficient information to determine whether civil penalties and alternatives to financial penalties would be effective at preventing littering, so these are assessed to be uncertain impacts for safeguarding water quality.

Data and Research – Actions

Overall Score: +/?

Action Score

Review the available litter data and approach to data collection across Scotland and reach an agreement between stakeholders on a common approach to collecting data.

Action Score: ++/?

Identify commonly littered items and litter hotspots and work with Local Authorities and other duty bodies to develop targeted interventions to reduce litter.

Action Score: +/?

Commentary:

Sea floor trawling and Marine Conservation Society Beach clean-up data both provide indicative sampled data on marine litter, but it is difficult to quantify the volume of litter entering water bodies due to a lack of terrestrial litter arising data. The last study to accurately estimate terrestrial Scottish litter arisings was conducted in 2013. Improved consistency in data collection between duty bodies including marine conservation charities would allow for more accurate monitoring of the impact of litter on water bodies.

A review of available litter data and approach to data collection would provide valuable insight into effectiveness of litter prevention measures with respect to the water environment (noting that this has close links to the optimisation of services identified in the Infrastructure and Services strategy theme). This is considered to be a significant positive impact for safeguarding water quality.

The identification of litter composition and hotspots may help to tackle persistent littering issues, particularly where this is linked to a targeted response for intervention (which is noted to have close links to the Infrastructure and Services strategy theme). The expected reduction of litter in the environment is considered to be a positive effect for the water environment. For both of these actions some uncertainty on the significance of the effects is recorded, noting that the measures are dependent on agreement and practical implementation with the relevant stakeholders.

Table 6-2 Assessment of Effects of Flytipping Actions on SEA Criteria for Water

Flytipping Strategy

Water

SEA Criteria:

  • To safeguard water quality, including bathing waters.

Behaviour Change – Actions

Overall Score: +/?

Conduct research to understand the full range of influences on flytipping behaviour across various context and audience groups and use this to design effective responses.

Action Score: +/?

Develop a sustained, evidence based, national anti-flytipping campaign and deliver this consistently and collaboratively across Scotland.

Action Score: +

Develop social media campaigns and guidance targeted at waste carriers and other businesses[113].

Action Score: +/?

Commentary:

Research into understanding influences on flytipping behaviour should help to support the development of measures that can prevent flytipping and so reduce subsequent impacts on the water environment. There is uncertainty though whether the proposed research would enhance the existing understanding of flytippng behaviour (e.g. Zero Waste Scotland, Evidence Review of Flytipping Behaviour, 2017). The research may also consider incorporating extensive international research on the fate of litter in watercourses and the marine environment.

Actions engaging a national anti-flytipping campaign can be expected to improve water quality including bathing water, which may benefit from a targeted approach of specific water courses or beach areas impacted by excessive littering. The development of social media campaigns and guidance should be beneficial in raising awareness of the adverse effects of flytipping, although the level of positive effect is uncertain as waste carriers and businesses should already be aware of their responsibilities and the potential impacts of flytipping on the water environment.

Services and Infrastructure – Actions

Overall Score: +

Support and encourage information and resource sharing between Local Authorities, waste sector, SEPA and other organisations through the flytipping forum.

Action Score: +

Explore the role of technology in assisting private landowners and land managers deter flytipping on their land.

Action Score: +/?

Produce updated guidance for private landowners on dealing with flytipping.

Action Score: +

Explore alternative financial support mechanisms available to private landowners.

Action Score: +

Explore how to support and encourage more reuse and repair of products that are commonly flytipped.

Action Score: ++/?

Explore a flexible approach to waste disposal (such as mobile HWRCs and targeted amnesties), and targeted interventions, with a view to trial these.

Action Score: +

Carry out research to create a single information point on the disposal of commonly flytipped materials.

Action Score: +

Commentary:

Encouraging information and resource sharing is expected to improve the use of services and infrastructure for managing waste material from flytipping. The action is considered to have some positive impact on the water environment, by reducing the potential for flytipped material to enter water courses or degrade into water soluble components causing pollution.

Exploring the role of technology for landowners to deter flytipping could be beneficial in reducing impact of the material on water quality. However, the effectiveness and practicalities of implementing technological deterrents are still to be determined, so the significance of the impacts are uncertain. The provision of further guidance to landowners (including other organisations which have an estate to manage) on managing flytipping, should help to either deter flytipping or improve the management of flytipped material, which is deemed to have some positive impacts for the water environment. Landowners have responsibilities for the maintenance of water courses, so exploring alternative financial support mechanisms for private landowners in terms of the availability of services and infrastructure for dealing with flytipped material may encourage a quicker and optimal approach for managing the waste, with subsequent benefits for the water environment.

Support in encouraging more reuse and repair of products is considered to have potential for significant positive effects, as this would prevent items being flytipped and so remove adverse effects from waste items and pollution on water quality. Further monitoring would be required though to confirm the effectiveness of the action. Exploring a more flexible approach to waste disposal and interventions to prevent flytipping, as well as creation of a single information point, are expected to help improve the management of flytipped material through the coordination of relevant services and visibility of information on flytipping. The actions may help prevent flytipping, which should help to reduce impacts on the water environment.

Enforcement – Actions

Overall Score: +/?

Conduct an evidence review of barriers to enforcement.

Action Score: +/?

Develop guidance on enforcement best practices, including on private land and seek for this to be voluntarily adopted by statutory bodies.

Action Score: +/?

Initially raise current fixed penalties issued by Police, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park for flytipping to the maximum (£500) and explore possibility of raising the maximum further at a later date.

Action Score: +/?

Explore raising current fixed penalties that can be issue by SEPA for flytipping offences to the maximum (£1000) and explore possibility of raising the maximum further at a later date.

Action Score: +/?

Review existing legislative powers for enforcing flytipping offences.

Action Score: +/?

Explore the ability to remove, suspend or deny Waste Carrier’s Registration to individuals/companies fined for flytipping.

Action Score: +/?

Support information sharing on flytipping incidents and offenders between Local Authorities, Police and National Parks.

Action Score: +

Create powers to enable seizure of vehicles by SEPA used in flytipping.

Action Score: +/?

Explore the possibility and benefits of using civil penalties to enforce flytipping offences.

Action Score: ?

Commentary:

There is limited evidence available to confirm the effectiveness of more stringent enforcement measures at preventing flytipping (see Table 4-3 for Biodiversity). It is understood though that the low probability of being caught for flytipping offences is a significant factor contributing to incidents of flytipping[114], therefore, the actions proposed in the National Litter and Flytipping strategy for a review of enforcement measures (including barriers to enforcement, existing powers, guidance on best practice, removal of Waste Carrier Registrations, and seizure of vehicles), should improve understanding of what is effective in combating flytipping. These actions are not considered to be neutral, as a reduction in flytipping would be beneficial for the water environment, but there is uncertainty on the level of significance for positive effects.

Sharing information on flytipping between Local Authorities, Police and National Parks should improve the opportunities for managing flytipped material, which would have some positive impacts for safeguarding water quality.

As discussed previously there is conflicting evidence regarding the effectiveness of fines in preventing waste crime (see Table 4-4 for Biodiversity). On balance, it is considered that increased financial penalties should provide some deterrent to flytipping and therefore benefits for the water environment, although the level of significance is uncertain. Further details on the use civil penalties and their effectiveness are required before the effects on safeguarding water quality can be determined, so this is considered to be an uncertain impact.

Data and Research – Actions

Overall Score: +/?

Create a data sharing agreement and work with Local Authorities, other duty bodies, National Parks, private landowners and land managers, businesses and the third sector to improve consistency of data collected in Scotland.

Action Score: +

Explore and seek to support the use of appropriate technology in data collection.

Action Score: +/?

Work with stakeholders to improve consistency of data collection in Scotland.

Action Score: ++

Explore incorporating data into a national database.

Action Score: +/?

Review the Dumb Dumpers system and ensure that a fit for purpose mechanism for citizen reporting of flytipping exists in Scotland.

Action Score: +/?

Explore the development of a live picture of flytipping across Scotland.

Action Score: 0/?

Commentary:

Sea floor trawling and Marine Conservation Society Beach clean-up data both provide indicative data on marine litter arisings but it is difficult to quantify the volume of fly-tipped waste entering the sea due to limited data on terrestrial flytipped material. Improved consistency in data collection between SEPA, Police, Local Authorities, marine conservation charities and other statutory bodies would allow for more accurate monitoring of its impact on water bodies.

Exploration of technology to streamline and facilitate the reporting of data may improve reporting, although it is not certain how this would be implemented or received. Improved technologies to measure marine litter may enhance data collection and monitoring.

As discussed previously (see Table 4-4 Biodiversity), differences in reporting techniques between authorities means data is often incomplete and complicates interpretation of data. Therefore, a more consistent approach would aid monitoring and identify areas of concern, which is expected would deliver significant benefits in assessing the overall status of flytipping in Scotland, with subsequent beneficial effects for the water environment.

There should be positive effects from incorporating data on flytipping in a national database, that would improve opportunities for managing flytipped material, which reduces the prevalence of flytipped material entering the water environment. National flytipping databases (FlyCapture and WasteDataFlow (WDF)) are currently in use, however, they have not been adopted universally by authorities and is therefore not comprehensive, so there is uncertainty regarding the significance of the benefits for this action. Similarly, a review of the Dumb Dumpers platform for citizen reporting of flytipping incidents should support more effective management of flytipped material, although the level of significance for the water environment is uncertain. Reporting of ‘live’ data may prove complex to implement and is considered to offer little in terms of monitoring the impact of the new National Litter and Flytipping strategy on the water environment.

6.4 Mitigation and Enhancement

The following measures are suggested to enhance the proposals in the new National Litter and Flytipping strategy, with respect to water:

  • Information on water testing quality and use of GIS mapping of litter and flytipping hotspots may be used to improve the understanding of the relationship between levels of litter and flytipping and effects on the water environment.
  • Storm water drainage systems are becoming critical systems for managing water in urban areas and safeguarding water quality, so this infrastructure should be included in the consideration of proposals relating to infrastructure and services (i.e. ensuring regular maintenance of the network systems to avoid blockages from litter and flytipping).
  • Collaboration between duty bodies and other stakeholders including marine conservation charities would support consistency to approaches and improved monitoring of the effects of litter and flytipping.

Please also refer to Section 4.4 Mitigation and Enhancement for the Biodiversity topic for a list of recommendations supporting the wider aims to prevent or improve management of litter and flytipped materials, which are considered to be common to each environmental topic.

Contact

Email: NLFS@gov.scot

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