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Flytipping can be hazardous to health, causes environmental damage, looks unsightly and costs considerable sums of taxpayers’ money to clean up.

Flytipping, or the illegal disposal of waste, is a major problem in certain areas.

It occurs in both urban and rural areas and clearing it up costs Scottish local authorities more than £2.5 million each year. It also undermines legitimate waste businesses, where illegal operators undercut those operating within the law.

How is flytipping controlled?

In Scotland, the main legislation concerning flytipping is the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA 1990), as amended, which prohibits the disposal of waste without the necessary permit.

Commercial waste carriers or brokers must apply to us for a permit in order to legally carry or dispose of waste, which ensures that waste is safely managed and disposed of in a way that causes as little harm to the environment as possible.

Most household or business waste is disposed of by local authorities, however certain types of waste – such as special waste or large or bulky domestic items, which make up more than half of flytippped waste – require special uplift or disposal at a local recycling centre or civic amenity site. 

If you are a commercial operator, you must ensure that you are compliant with regulations – this may mean applying for a permit or, if your business is exempt, ensuring that it is registered with us as an exempt concern.

If you employ a commercial operator to dispose of waste from your household or business, it may be appropriate to enquire as to whether they are registered with us as a waste carrier or broker. We maintain a register of licensed waste carriers and brokers which you can use to ensure that anybody in your employ is sufficiently compliant.

What is being done about fly-tipping?

The Scottish Flytipping Forum was established in 2004 in a bid to find solutions to the problems of flytipping.

The forum supports enforcement, but its main function is providing advice on good practice and prevention.

The aim of the forum is to reduce flytipping in Scotland by:

  • helping to minimise the extent of flytipping throughout Scotland;
  • measuring the extent and cost of flytipping in Scotland;
  • increasing the awareness of the general public and businesses;
  • providing recommendations to the Scottish Government to clarify and improve enforcement options;
  • sharing best practice and developing protocols and national guidance for dealing with flytipping.

Currently the Flytipping Forum is hosted and chaired by Zero Waste Scotland, with the secretariat being provided by Keep Scotland Beautiful.

What can I do if I suspect flytipping is being carried out?

If you see anyone dumping rubbish illegally, report to the Dumb Dumpers Stop Line online report : 

If the incident is on-going, is believed to be a hazardous nature or is near a watercourse, the information will be passed to us or Police Scotland as appropriate.

If the incident is not urgent or the waste concerned is non-hazardous, the information will be passed to the local authority for investigation.