SCOTGOV has launched a new effort to address Scotland's littering problem – including a proposal to more than double fines for flytipping.

In its consultation on a new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy, ScotGov proposes a range of measures, including raising fines for flytipping from £200 to £500, which is the maximum permitted by current legislation. However, the consultation also asks if fines should be raised beyond this cap.

Read more: Fly-tipping fines must match the crime

But the core of the proposed initiative is a sustained campaign to change Scotland's 'national behaviour' by breaking the cycle of littering and flytipping.

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," said Ms Slater.

Read more: Flytipping is 'a thorn in the side' of forestry

“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."

She added: “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 in the consultation 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.

Read more: Farmers bear the brunt of flytipping

Commenting on the consultation, Scottish Environment Protection Agency chief executive, 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.”

Speaking from Zero Waste Scotland, chief executive 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 will run until March 31, 2022. Responses received will be used to inform a new strategy which ScotGov said would be published in 2022.