Due to be published in the coming months, the six-year strategy will set out a vision for a future where Scotland’s environment is unblighted by litter and fly-tipping.
Members of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC), which met last Thursday (March 10), welcomed the consultation response and stressed the need to tighten legislation to crack down on offenders.
Among the proposed changes will be the treatment of litter and fly-tipping as two separate issues of equal importance with identified coordinated and collaborative action to tackle each element.
For both litter and fly-tipping the proposed actions sit within three strategic themes - behaviour change, services and infrastructure and enforcement.
In terms of litter, proposed actions will include conducting research to understand littering behaviours, developing a national anti-littering behaviour change campaign, encouraging collaboration and sharing of best practice among duty bodies and conducting a review of the barriers to enforcement.
With regards to fly-tipping, many of the proposed actions are similar to litter and include exploring the possibility of establishing a national fly-tipping database, a flexible approach to waste disposal, supporting private landowners on the role of technology and financial support mechanisms for these, raising fixed penalties and exploring enabling local authorities to use civil penalties to enforce fly-tipping.
Councillors heard that in the main, the proposed actions are expected to have a positive impact for Aberdeenshire in terms of reducing litter and fly-tipping occurrences as a result of developing targeted interventions based on littering and fly-tipping behaviour, improving data collection, supporting community groups and improving the enforcement of offences and penalties.
However it was also accepted that the draft consultation response does highlight a risk, in that local authorities such as Aberdeenshire Council who have a duty in relation to litter and fly-tipping, may see a rise in costs due to measures such as extra enforcement, behaviour change and communications activities, and infrastructure.
Environment and Infrastructure Services director Alan Wood said: “Ultimately there are no excuses for littering or fly-tipping in any shape or form and here in Aberdeenshire we are fortunate that we are not overly impacted by such offences.
"However we cannot become complacent as we have seen a rise in the fly-tipping of commercial waste and large-scale deposits of household items in recent years which we continue to take action on.
“While the vast majority of our residents and businesses continue to dispose of their waste appropriately through our weekly kerbside collections, household recycling centres and licensed trade waste outlets, there are those who continue to flout the law.
"As a council we sincerely hope that the new strategy will encourage and support positive behaviours to continue encouraging everyone to choose the proper and legal waste disposal route and improve the quality of our magnificent local environment.”
One of the main issues in Aberdeenshire appears to be in the surge in offers from unlicensed ‘man-with-a-van’-type collection services which fail to register for trade waste disposal and will dump any type of waste without questioning the risks that might pose.
Anyone dealing in the transportation of commercial, industrial or household waste - including any waste from a house, shop, office, factory or any other trade or business premises - must register with SEPA.
If you transport somebody else’s waste yourself, you are a waste carrier and if you arrange to have somebody else’s waste carried, you are a waste broker.
If you don’t register, you could face a fine of up to £5,000.
Before allowing any waste to be taken away, you should take a note of the vehicle registration number, ask to see a waste carrier’s licence, ask the carrier exactly which licensed facility your waste is going to and be suspicious if their quoted price is too low.
If the person taking the waste won’t grant your request, then the chances are your waste will be illegally dumped and you risk being given a fixed penalty notice as a consequence.
If you are planning to hire a waste-carrier, you can check whether they are SEPA-registered by phoning 0300 099 6699.
Aberdeenshire Council needs proof to enforce the law on fly-tipping.
If you know who dumped the items you can report them - even anonymously - with your evidence.
You should always report fly-tipping, whether you know who dumped it or not, so it can be removed.
If you own the land where waste has been dumped, it’s up to you to get rid of the mess legally but Aberdeenshire Council may still wish to investigate so you should contact them.
You can report fly-tipping by calling the Wasteline on 03456 081207 or visit www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/waste/report-rubbish-and-litter/#flytipping For more information on trade waste services visit: www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/waste/commercial-refuse-and-recycling-collections/