PUBLIC RECYCLING centres should be re-opened in a bid to tackle increased levels of fly-tipping during lockdown, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have suggested.

The Scottish countryside has seen a surge in fly-tipping since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, and the closure of recycling centres by local authorities.

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has now written to the Communities and Local Government Secretary Aileen Campbell to raise the matter.

The letter read: "I am writing to ask that your government give powers to Local Authorities to allow them to open recycling centres on a managed and socially distanced basis.

"With people confined to their homes for the most part, many are generating large items of waste due to DIY projects, spring cleaning etc. Not having recycling centres available has led to increases of fly-tipping in some areas.

"Our councils could follow similar schemes to those in England where Recycling Centres have been allowed to re-open, where only a certain number of slots were made available each day and then residents invited to book a time to visit, registering car details for workers to confirm people were arriving at their appointed time," said Mr Cole-Hamilton. "Allowing people to clear their homes of large item waste they may have generated will give a much needed boost to the wellbeing of our communities."

In England, the UK Government has published guidance this week on how local authorities can reopen Household Waste and Recycling Centres, but only where social distancing can be maintained.

Official guidance sets out how local authorities could manage access and the number of people who are able to be on site at any one time.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Maintaining crucial waste services while protecting public health remains a top priority during these unprecedented times, and I commend our councils on the superbly efficient job they are doing in keeping waste collection services running.

“We are publishing this guidance to help local authorities re-open their recycling centres over the coming days and weeks. This will ensure that more waste can be properly disposed of and we avoid the likelihood of fly-tipping,” she explained.