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Calls for action on fly-tipping in the Highlands, after figures emerged that the offence is costing Scottish taxpayers £2.5 million a year

By Gordon Calder

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Fly tipped garden waste at Castle of Old Wick car park. Picture: DGS
Fly tipped garden waste at Castle of Old Wick car park. Picture: DGS

ILLEGAL fly-tipping is costing taxpayers in Scotland more than £2.5 million a year.

That is the figure which local authorities have to pay to clear up the rubbish dumped in remote and urban areas.

Highland Council has said illegal fly-tipping is costing the region’s taxpayers thousands and is encouraging people to report anyone they see doing it.

Fly-tipping has been highlighted in a number of Highland locations recently, such as Staxigoe in Caithness where around 18 large black bin bags full of soil waste were dumped in a ditch. Eight or nine full bags were discarded in one spot, and several metres further up the road there were nine or 10 more bulging bin-liners.

The huge increase of illegal dumping in the Highland region has led to a call on the Scottish Government to review the existing penalty for fly-tipping.

The Highland Liberal Democrat candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Molly Nolan, called for the review after revealing there were 3,952 cases of fly-tipping across the Highland Council area in the last two years.

In an incident at the weekend 153 tyres were dumped at the side of A890 road at the Attadale Estate at Stratchcarron while a waste facility from a camper van or caravan was dumped at a school site at Lochaber.

The council stress that it provides 21 recycling centres across the Highlands and offers a bulky uplift service for large items. It also points out that it is Highland Council taxpayers who are bearing the cost of having to clean up the mess.

Communities and Place Area Committee chairman, councillor Allan Henderson, said the Covid-19 pandemic has already placed extra pressure on budgets. Positive action to combat the illegal practice would provide the council with an opportunity to re-direct that spending towards other vital services.

He said: "I urge everyone to use the waste collection services the local authority offers and to dispose of waste or unwanted items responsibly.

"The council works closely with SEPA (the Scottish Environment Protection Agency) and Police Scotland to raise awareness of all the implications of fly-tipping.

"Local communities can help us too. If anyone sees fly-tipping in their area, we would urge them to report it to us, the Police or SEPA at the time or as soon as possible, along with any descriptions of people or vehicles used."

You can also report incidents of fly-tipping to the council on-line by visiting www.highland.gov.uk

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