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SCOTLAND: Fines for fly-tippers

December 1, 2003 12:00 AM

New regulations will give local authorities extra powers from today to take action against fly-tippers.

Environment Minister Ross Finnie welcomed new regulations giving local authorities the power to check the origins of any waste.

Action under fly-tipping legislation can be considered against anyone failing to produce required documentation within a specified time. These regulations extend powers already available to SEPA. By giving this power to all local authorities there will be an large increase in the number of officers who may engage in enforcement.

Ross Finnie said:

"The Executive is committed to protecting Scotland's environment and that includes tackling the scourge of fly-tipping which blights our towns, cities and countryside.

"Fly-tipping is unsightly, potentially dangerous, harmful to our environment and it is against the law.

"Our Partnership Agreement promised action to strengthen local authority powers of enforcement to tackle fly-tipping and we have now delivered on that promise.

"These regulations will greatly increase the chances of fly-tippers being caught. Anyone involved in this anti-social activity should be aware that it will not be tolerated and we are determined to tackle it head on by increasing the powers of those tasked with dealing with it."

These powers will apply to those fly-tipping and those carrying waste without appropriate consents. Anyone who can't supply a proper note to the local authority is committing an offence. The offence is punishable by a fine of the statutory maximum (currently £5,000), if imposed in summary proceedings. Proceedings may also, however, be taken on indictment, in which case there is no limit on the fine the court may impose.

The Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2003 were laid before the Scottish Parliament on November 10 and come into force today.

A Partnership for a Better Scotland promised action to strengthen local authority powers of enforcement to tackle fly-tipping. The Scottish Fly-Tipping Forum, established with funding from the Scottish Executive, recommended that local authorities be given power to inspect waste transfer notes.

The grant of such powers was consulted on in the consultation paper for the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Bill, Putting Our Communities First, and received strong public support.

Further measures to deal with fly-tipping are contained in the Bill, which was published on October 30. Proposals are to create a system of on-the-spot fixed penalty fines for fly-tipping, similar to those for littering, to deal with lesser offences, and to double the maximum fines available on summary proceedings for more serious offences.