Scotland is a beautiful country and we all have a responsibility to keep it that way. There are no excuses for littering and flytipping, which are a blight on our streets, communities and countryside, with the cost of cleaning up often borne by individuals and the public sector.
As well as being unsightly and spoiling our enjoyment of Scotland’s landscapes, litter and flytipping also threaten our natural environment and wildlife, risking damage not just for those living in Scotland today, but for future generations too. Every year, millions of items are dropped as litter and tonnes of material is flytipped in Scotland, with at least £60 million of public money spent annually to clean it up - money that could be better spent on other services. On top of this, litter and flytipping prevention can ‘close the loop’ in a circular economy. We have to recognise that everything we use and throw away is a resource which has a value, a value that we should preserve, capture, and use again wherever possible.
The previous National Litter Strategy, published in 2014, was an important first step in shifting the focus from cleaning up to behaviour change and prevention. Scotland has made important advances towards actively addressing litter and flytipping, such as being the first nation in the UK to ban some of the most problematic single-use plastic items, and we have also announced over £53 million of investments from the landmark Recycling Improvement Fund to improve recycling quantity and quality. The National Litter and Flytipping Strategy will build on this positive work and drive further change in behaviours and the delivery of services. In addition, enforcement will be a key theme, and the Strategy sets out our robust commitments, including raising fixed penalty notices for flytipping to £500 and exploring the possibility of raising these to £1000.
Looking ahead, it is an exciting time for the circular economy in Scotland. Recently we have introduced a Circular Economy Bill which will establish the legislative framework to support Scotland’s transition to a zero waste and circular economy. We are also in the final stages of preparation for UK wide reforms to extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging to commence phased implementation from next year. EPR will drive more sustainable packaging, provide clearer labelling for consumers, and deliver direct benefits to local authorities.
At the heart of this Strategy is collaboration, and I am delighted that this Strategy has been developed in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency following engagement with other key partners and stakeholders, including local authorities and landowners, and has been informed by the wide ranging feedback we received on our consultation proposals.
One of our key objectives will be to develop and adopt a shared approach between stakeholders to litter and flytipping prevention across Scotland. No one can tackle these issues alone and I want to thank the many stakeholders who have engaged with the development of this Strategy. As we build on the work already underway, it is vital that we all work together to tackle litter and
flytipping as part of our wider efforts to tackle Scotland’s throwaway culture. This National Litter and Flytipping Strategy sets important and ambitious objectives, and I am committed to its successful implementation. For the Strategy to meet its goals, it will require all sections of society to play their full part, and I am certain that by working together we can create a fairer, greener, stronger Scotland for everyone.
Lorna Slater MSP Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity
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