Murdo Fraser MSP says that the “shockingly” low number of fly-tipping cases facing prosecution underlines the importance of changing the legislation to punish offenders.
The Scottish Conservative politician, who is putting together a Members’ Bill on Fly-tipping, was reacting to figures supplied through Freedom of Information (FoI), which reveal that only nine cases of fly-tipping reported by local authorities to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, ended up at summary court level out of 114, over a period of four years.
The information, which was supplied following a FoI request by the Scottish Conservatives, shows that 21 Fiscal fines were issued during the period from April 1, 2017 up to March 31, 2021, and no action was taken on 79 cases.
Commenting, Mr Fraser, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, said: “This shockingly low number of fly-tipping cases that actually reached Summary court level just emphasises the importance of changing the legislation surrounding dealing with cases of fly-tipping.
“Of the 114 cases reported to COPFS during the period from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2021, only nine reached the Summary court stage, which is very concerning. These are cases where people were charged and reported to COPFS by local authorities with knowingly depositing controlled waste.
“These councils would undoubtedly have put in a lot of work to seek some legal action, only to find out that the majority of such cases didn’t reach prosecution stage.
“This is one of the reasons why I am putting together a Members’ Bill on Fly-tipping, where we could look at dealing with these cases as a civil matter rather than a criminal one.”
Mr Fraser added: “I am focused on changing the law to clamp down on fly-tipping by toughening up fines to act as more of a deterrent, as it is apparent that the current penalties are not working. Cutting down on the inconsiderate crime of fly-tipping would deliver a huge boost to Scotland’s environment in the year of COP26.”