Views sought on new litter and fly-tipping strategy.
Fines for flytipping could be more than doubled as part of proposals being consulted on.
The consultation on a new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy proposes a range of measures to prevent litter and flytipping, improve data and strengthen enforcement.
This includes raising fines for flytipping from 200 to 500 - the maximum permitted by current legislation. The consultation also asks if they should be raised beyond this cap.
The introduction of a sustained national behaviour change campaign is also being proposed, aimed at breaking the cycle of littering and flytipping. This would be supported by new research, looking at why people continue to litter.
Launching the consultation, Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said:
We want a Scotland that is free of the blight of litter and flytipping. That's why we're asking for views on a bold set of measures that could help make our streets, parks and public spaces free of rubbish.
Litter and flytipping are not just a blight on local communities - they also cost millions of pounds every year in clean-up costs. We need to send a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated.
We also need to understand why anti-litter measures are still not reaching some people. To address that, we are proposing not just a one off campaign, but a sustained push, backed by new research into why people litter.
We also want to make better use of data to clamp down on illegal dumping. By understanding more about where and when flytipping takes place, we can be more effective in targeting interventions to stop it.
Proposals include the increased and improved use of data to locate and target litter and flytipping hotspots. The creation of a national flytipping forum, chaired by the Circular Economy Minister, will also bring together key stakeholders in Scotland to discuss how to implement the new strategy and share best practice and insights relating to tackling flytipping.
Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Terry A'Hearn, said:
Fly-tipping is not only immoral, it is illegal and waste crime poses a risk not only to human health and the environment, but also to urban and rural businesses, and communities. Waste dumped illegally in laybys, rural locations or holes in the ground, instead of being disposed of in the correct manner, means criminals are avoiding having to pay the costs a legal operator has to pay.
Tackling waste crime is a priority for SEPA, and the information collected from this consultation could mean better sharing and co-ordination of flytipping data between us and partners, helping us manage our responses better.
Chief Executive Officer of Zero Waste Scotland, Iain Gulland, said:
Litter and flytipping are illegal, dangerous, and entirely avoidable. In fact, half of all litter could have been recycled.
The impact is more than the staggering clean-up costs - recklessly dumping items is damaging to our wildlife and communities. But despite tremendous efforts, it's still a national issue. To tackle it, we need new ideas, new approaches and new collaborations, which is why Zero Waste Scotland implores everyone to take part in this public consultation.
The consultation runs until 31 March 2022. Responses will be used to inform the new strategy which will be published in 2022.