National litter and flytipping strategy: consultation analysis

Analysis report of responses to our consultation on a new national litter and flytipping strategy.

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

Scotland’s previous five-year national litter strategy Towards a Litter-Free Scotland was adopted in 2014[2] and complemented other actions targeting environmental quality, such as the development of a Marine Litter Strategy or wider street cleansing measures. The Strategy reflected the broader work to support the circular economy set out in the Zero Waste Plan (2010), Safeguarding Scotland's Resources (2013) and Low Carbon Scotland: behaviours framework. The latter supported the move towards the climate change target in 2020, although the national strategy did not address these targets directly.

A key focus of that national strategy was to prevent littering and flytipping through a change in public behaviour via increased awareness and individual accountability as well as aiming to increase recyclability of products.

A review of the 2014 strategy and the activity that took place as a result was completed in 2019. The review found that whilst significant progress had been made, litter and flytipping still posed significant challenges. The 2019 review pointed to a need for any future National Litter and Flytipping Strategy to acknowledge the wider context of the circular economy and Scotland’s net zero aims, including the Bill on Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019,[3] and the update to Scotland's 2018-2032 Climate Change Plan which set out ambitious targets including a focus on waste management. This update envisaged continuous implementation of the Deposit Return Scheme for single use drinks containers as well as separate management of bio-(garden) waste by 2023 and textiles waste by 2025 along with increased waste recyclability and food waste reduction.[4] The visibility of the green agenda in Scotland was further enhanced with hosting COP26 in November 2021.

In early 2021, the Scottish Government engaged with key stakeholders through a summit and roundtable to understand how priorities have shifted since the 2014 strategy, particularly in the context of Covid-19. At that point, the Scottish Government confirmed its commitment to developing a new strategy to tackle litter and flytipping, and noted the importance of having a clear strategic ownership and direction to ensure awareness of implications during its development.

To that end, during 2021, the Scottish Government held two workshops with key partners and stakeholders to prepare a list of actions that will sit beneath the strategy and help deliver its vision.

The final strategy, which will have a six-year lifespan, will be delivered later in 2022 and will outline ownership and deliverables for each action.

These actions sit under three strategic themes agreed by stakeholders in their review.

  • Behaviour change
  • Services & infrastructure
  • Enforcement

Data and research are seen as cross-cutting elements of this strategy, underpinning these three themes, to be able to evaluate the progress and effectiveness of the strategy. The ultimate vision of the strategy is that Scotland’s environment will be unblighted by litter and flytipping through supporting positive behaviours and enabling individuals and businesses to improve the quality of their local environment.

A public consultation – drafted by the Scottish Government in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, Keep Scotland Beautiful, and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) – on the aims, objectives, and potential actions for this new strategy was published in December 2021. Questions aligned to the three strategic themes.

This consultation is part of wider engagement on the topic of littering and flytipping across Scotland. Two online engagement sessions were hosted by Keep Scotland Beautiful in February 2022, supported by Scottish Government, SEPA, and Zero Waste Scotland, to gather views from organisations with an interest in protecting and improving the environment, waste management, litter and flytipping behaviours and sustainable packaging.

Concurrent to the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy consultation, the Scottish Government sought views on its refreshed Marine Litter Strategy for Scotland.[5]

1.2 Aims and objectives

The overarching aim of this report is to present an objective and comprehensive analysis of all responses to the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy consultation. It identifies the key themes, differences or similarities by respondent group (by individual or organisation). The findings are to support the Scottish Government’s work to finalise Scotland’s National Litter and Flytipping Strategy, to be published later in 2022.

1.3 Methodology

Consultation questions were drafted by the Scottish Government in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, Keep Scotland Beautiful and SEPA.

Responses were collected by the Scottish Government using the Citizen Space platform. The consultation was open for 15 weeks from 13 December 2021 to 31 March 2022.

A total of 978 people responded to the consultation. Of these 967 responded directly through the Citizen Space portal, while 11 were submitted directly to Scottish Government. All data were shared with Pye Tait Consulting following the conclusion of the consultation.

Prior to analysis, data were reviewed to identify any blank, duplicate, or campaign responses, of which none were found.

In agreement with Scottish Government, organisational responses were split into five categories depending on their stakeholder type, to identify any noticeable trends in responses from different sub-groups.

Closed questions were analysed quantitatively using SNAP software. Open questions were analysed using manual coding analysis to identify key themes.

The report is structured to mirror the outline of the consultation, with separate chapters covering littering, flytipping, and impact assessments. These first two are each split into three sub-sections reflecting the strategy, focusing on behaviour change, services and infrastructure, and enforcement. Typically, each closed question – or set of closed questions – is followed by an open question. In some instances, there are standalone open questions.



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