Private Member’s Bill could offer flytipping solution

Flytipping is an issue that is unfortunately increasing in both volume and frequency but the prospect of a Private Member’s Bill in the Scottish Parliament could offer some genuine hope of tackling this unsightly blight on rural Scotland.

The dreaded sight of abandoned, sometimes dangerous, waste is not simply an eyesore on Scotland’s beautiful countryside; it can, and does, cause harm to livestock, crops, nature and wildlife. With more and more cases, it is an issue that farmers are having to deal with more often, costing them not just in terms of money but also large amounts of their time.

Despite recycling centres re-opening, flytipping and illegal dumping incidents are still being recorded daily by NFU Scotland members. Cases in the past year alone have included rotting meat, hazardous asbestos waste, domestic appliances, household waste, builder’s rubble, garden cuttings, pallets, and garage waste including tyres and car batteries. The penalties in place are clearly not working as a deterrent as those who flytip, be they individual members of the public, non-reputable businesses or criminal organisations, often do so repeatedly, most often without penalty.  

Last week has resulted in some welcome, and promising, discussions to target the problem.

NFU Scotland participated in a workshop on Tuesday, which brought together key stakeholders including the Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland, SEPA, local authorities and national parks, among others. The group discussed key issues relating to flytipping including improving how the issue is reported and dealt with; how data on flytipping is collated and shared; stronger penalties to act as a deterrent; and introducing extended producer responsibility on the most commonly flytipped items. While there were many innovative and creative ideas raised, all agreed there was no one single “silver bullet” to tackle the issue of flytipping and what is instead required is a joined-up and collaborative approach which looks at everything from accessibility of household waste recycling to the latest technology that allows people to report flytipping with ease.

Also last week, Murdo Fraser Conservative MSP held a roundtable with NFU Scotland, the Woodland Trust, Scottish Land & Estates, Police Scotland and Keep Scotland Beautiful to discuss ways to tackle fly-tipping. He believes that fly tipping is such a major issue across Scotland that action needs to be taken in the form of a Members’ Bill to change the law when it comes to dealing with those responsible. The areas he is focusing on regarding changes to the law on fly-tipping are: better collection of statistics, shifting the liability for clean-up to the source of the waste rather than the innocent landowners, and strengthening fines to act as a deterrent.

NFU Scotland welcomes the positive discussions that have taken place recently and will continue to work with stakeholders including the Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland and Murdo Fraser and other MSPs to help to find positive solutions that will end the blight of fly-tipping that affects farmers, rural communities, and the natural environment

If any member would like to share their experiences in relation to dealing with flytipping as a case study for us to use as we take this work forward, please email or

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