Litter and flytipping strategy: strategic environment assessment - post adoption statement

A strategic environmental assessment post adoption statement setting out how responses to the assessment have been taken into account for the national litter and flytipping strategy.

1 Introduction

Summary of National Litter and Flytipping Strategy

Litter and flytipping are well-documented indicators of local environmental quality and have significant social, environmental and economic impacts, and health implications. Research indicates that at least 15,000 tonnes of litter is disposed of into our urban and rural environment and is subsequently cleared by local authorities every year. This is composed of around 250 million easily visible items.[1] A further 26,000 tonnes of waste is flytipped each year and dealt with by local authorities, with over 60,000 incidents occurring per year. This estimate excludes the vast majority of cases on private land[1] and marine litter.

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".[2] A review of this strategy was completed in November 2019[3] which highlighted that significant progress had been made and identified key successes of the strategy. However, it also recognised that litter and flytipping still pose significant challenges that require further concerted action; and identified opportunities for potential future measures. In response, Scottish Government committed to launch a new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy, recognising that litter and flytipping are related but separate issues, that require a tailored approach to be taken in each case.

The National Litter and Flytipping Strategy sets out the vision of the Scottish Government for a future where Scotland's environment is unblighted by litter and flytipping. To achieve this vision, potential actions have been identified for litter and flytipping under three key 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. It should also be noted that the key behaviours related to litter will differ from those for flytipping. Successful measures under this theme would improve the accessibility, consistency and nature of messaging that motivates people to change their behaviour.

Services and Infrastructure

In order for prevention of litter and flytipping to be effective there needs to be services and infrastructure in place to support people to behave responsibly. This includes services offered by local authorities, but also more widely looking to businesses and community groups. Successful measures under this theme would ensure Scotland's services and infrastructure are fit for purpose and prioritise action and innovation that proactively prevents litter and flytipping and supports a circular economy.


Enforcement and deterrents have been identified as an important link in the chain for achieving the prevention of litter and flytipping, identified from numerous stakeholder calls to review the enforcement process, procedures and to understand if alternative solutions are available (such as education or volunteering for those who cannot afford to pay fines) with collaborative measures seen as crucial. Success in relation to this theme would ensure there is a strong and consistent enforcement model across Scotland that acts as a proportional deterrent.

Underpinning any next steps, improved data and evidence is crucial to successfully understanding the root causes of the issue, evaluating the success of any interventions, collaborating successful and monitoring progress. This includes reporting of issues by the public and communities, national reporting and monitoring, citizen science and measurable outcomes. Success for this theme would include an improved understanding of the behaviours, attitudes and drivers behind both littering and flytipping behaviours and develop an evidence base that can facilitate the implementation and monitoring of effective interventions.



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