National litter and flytipping: consultation

This consultation proposes potential actions to tackle litter and flytipping in Scotland. Responses to this consultation will inform the development of the final National Litter and Flytipping Strategy which will be published in early 2022.

Executive Summary

In June 2014, the Scottish Government published the country’s first National Litter Strategy “Towards a Litter Free Scotland: A Strategic Approach to Higher Quality Local Environments.” A review of this strategy was completed in November 2019 which highlighted that significant progress had been made and identified key successes of the strategy. However, it also recognises that litter and flytipping still pose a significant challenge that require further concerted actions; and identified opportunities for potential future action.

The landscape within which the previous strategy was written has evolved significantly, and a number of new policy areas are now linked to the impact of litter and flytipping. The COVID-19 pandemic has also posed a number of new challenges in regards to litter and flytipping. It was decided that this strategy would be updated as a National Litter and Flytipping Strategy, recognising that these are separate issues, to allow a tailored approach to be taken to each of them.

Further to the review that was conducted on the previous strategy, targeted stakeholder engagement has focused on the current challenges and future priorities for action. This consultation reflects these discussions and proposes actions that can be taken to prevent litter and flytipping from occurring and effectively deal with it, when it does. It also provides an opportunity to further engage with stakeholders on proposed actions which will help to shape and deliver the final strategy.

This strategy sets out our vision for a future where Scotland’s environment is unblighted by litter and flytipping. To achieve this vision, some potential actions have been identified for litter and flytipping under key themes:

  • Behaviour change
  • Services and infrastructure
  • Enforcement.

Data and research is seen as a crosscutting element of this strategy, underpinning these three themes.


Data collected through the national Local Environmental Auditing and Monitoring System for 2020/21 demonstrates that litter continues to be a challenge for communities across Scotland, and highlighted the effects of the pandemic on local environmental quality. This consultation proposes actions under the three themes, which aim to ensure:

  • Behaviour change: Individuals and organisations have greater awareness of the problems caused by litter, understand their responsibility in preventing litter and are motivated to behave responsible.
  • Services and infrastructure: Scotland’s services and infrastructure are fit for purpose, encourage responsible behaviour and make it easier for individuals to make the right choices; and prioritise action and innovation that proactively prevents litter and supports a circular economy.
  • Enforcement: There is a strong and consistent enforcement model across Scotland that is fit for purpose, promotes positive behaviours, acts as a proportionate deterrent and effectively stops people from littering.

Examples of proposed actions under each of these themes include:

  • Conduct research to understand the full range of influences on littering behaviours.
  • Develop a sustained, evidence based, national anti-littering behaviour change campaign that is delivered consistently across Scotland.
  • Improve the consistency and quality of data collection to allow targeted interventions to be developed.
  • Encourage collaboration and share best practice among duty bodies to optimise services.
  • Create a national litter hub to provide information and advice to community groups.
  • Conduct an evidence review of barriers to enforcement, with a view to make necessary legislative changes subject to the outcome.


Flytipping is a blight on local communities and comes at a financial cost to the taxpayer and to businesses. Private landowners and land managers are also particularly adversely affected as they can often be left paying the cost to clear and dispose of any material flytipped on their land. There has been increased media coverage of flytipping as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with concerns that many of these existing issues had been exacerbated by the pandemic. This consultation proposes actions under the three themes, which aim to ensure:

  • Behaviour change – National flytipping messaging is improved to ensure individuals and businesses are confident in understanding their responsibilities in disposing of waste appropriately and are fully informed on the potential consequences of not doing so.
  • Services and infrastructure – There is a resilient national framework which provides consistent and joined up services that are effective for both preventing flytipping where possible and tackling it effectively when it does occur.
  • Enforcement – There is a strong, consistent enforcement model that is fit for purpose and acts as an effective deterrent for flytipping behaviour.

Proposed actions under each of these themes include:

  • Conduct research to understand the full range of influences on behaviour that leads to flytipping.
  • Develop a sustained, evidence based, national anti-flytipping behaviour change campaign that is delivered consistently across Scotland.
  • Improve the consistency and quality of data collection, including exploring establishing a national database and ensuring that there is a fit for purpose mechanism for citizen reporting of flytipping.
  • Explore a flexible approach to waste disposal and targeted interventions.
  • Support private landowners and land managers by exploring the role of technology, producing updated guidance and exploring alternative financial support mechanisms.
  • Conduct an evidence review of barriers to enforcement of flytipping offences.
  • Initially raise fixed penalties to the maximum and explore the possibility of raising the maximum further.
  • Explore the possibility of enabling local authorities and national parks to use civil penalties to enforce flytipping offences.


Further proposed actions can be found within the consultation document. Responses to this consultation are essential to developing the National Litter and Flytipping strategy, details of how to respond can also be found within the document.

It is our intention to publish the final strategy in early 2022, taking account of views expressed during this consultation. It is important that collaborative work continues to deliver this new strategy; Scottish Government will work with key partners to develop the strategy and identify system-wide action to drive further progress on litter and flytipping.



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