This consultation analysis has reviewed the 978 responses received to the Scottish Government’s consultation on its National Litter and Flytipping Strategy. The consultation was open from 13 December 2021 to 31 March 2022.
Broadly, there are high levels of support for almost all proposed Actions within the consultation documents.
There are particularly high levels of support (88%) to develop and adopt a national anti-littering campaign, while over three quarters (78%) support the development of a national anti-flytipping campaign. A priority focus for such campaigns, from respondents’ viewpoint, include:
- portraying these issues as anti-social and unacceptable,
- educating the public – especially young people – about the impacts, risks, and consequences of their actions, and
- outlining the potential penalties and sanctions.
There are high levels of support to undertake research to understand motivations for littering (78%) and for flytipping (65%). This will help inform future action plans and preventative measures. There is only lukewarm support to undertake work to create definitions of littering (48%) and flytipping (54%).
Priority topics commonly suggested for the focus of behaviour change interventions include:
- educating young people in schools at an early age,
- targeting common culprits and hotspots e.g. motorists at laybys, with clear signs and warnings,
- showing the damage that litter and flytipping can cause,
- providing more detail on the location and opening times of waste sites, and the materials they can receive, and
- providing clear information on potential sanctions and on how to report incidents.
Interventions that are noted to have worked well previously to reduce littering and flytipping include graphic advertisements (akin to anti-smoking), deposit return schemes to encourage recycling, volunteer and community litter pick groups. There are mixed views on the success of amnesties.
To help reduce littering and flytipping, there is a call from many respondents to reduce fees at HWRCs for waste disposal, and to ideally make these free. There is also call for more HWRCs with longer opening hours to increase accessibility. Meanwhile, there is low awareness of the Dumb Dumpers scheme, and those that are aware are rather lukewarm regarding its success. There also appears to be some confusion among respondents as to whom it is most appropriate to report flytipping, with local authorities and the police most commonly mentioned.
Alternative penalties instead of fines for littering are welcomed. Litter picks or community work are suggested. Many call for stricter sanctions for flytipping, including a higher monetary fine and/or adding points to individuals’ driving licences. There is a high level of general concern, however, that sanctions are often not implemented, and that penalties are not enforced regularly enough to have sufficient impact.
The main perceived barriers to reporting flytipping are that landowners have to pay to clear waste, and that councils are unwilling to act. The majority support the notion that landowners should not be having to foot this bill or be responsible to clear flytipped waste and would welcome greater levels of practical and financial support to install CCTV at hotspots to act as a deterrent.
There is a good appetite to develop a central system and database to gather and record data to identify littering and flytipping trends. This is seen as an efficient and effective approach, and one that will help identify cross-council perpetrators. Collaboration and communication between all parties, with clear lines of roles and responsibilities, are seen as important to develop a streamlined system, to share best practice, and to maintain a high standard nationwide.
Over two thirds (68%) support the creation of a national litter hub, and over four in five (82%) support the creation of a community focused litter education programme. It is suggested the hub and associated programmes could focus on the environmental impact of littering and flytipping, provide information on sanctions, as well as practical information on safe ways to dispose of litter locally. The development of an app, and of guidance specifically for businesses, is also suggested.
A minority of respondents disagree with proposed actions. Typically, most favour taking direct action (for example, clearing up waste and/or finding and sanctioning perpetrators) rather than some of the broader actions suggested, perceiving these to be a poor use of resources in the quest to tackle littering and flytipping.
There is also feedback that the consultation was overly long and that it expected too much of respondents to read through lengthy supporting documentation.
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