Increase in fly-tipping reports in Linlithgow deemed a success story

A surge in fly-tipping reports in Linlithgow is a sign that the public is responding to a clean up campaign, it has been claimed.
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The council recently launched it’s Don’t Waste West Lothian campaign encouraging people to report fly-tippers.

A senior manager from operational services said that more than a dozen people had called in over two separate incidents in the ward. That had enabled council staff to track down the culprits, members of the local area committee heard this week.

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Councillors professed astonishment that the number of fly-tipping enquiries in the ward had leapt from 14 in October to December 2022 to 52 in the final three months of 2023.

Commercial waste dumped on Bonnytoun Farm to Bonsyde Road in November. Inset: Fly-tipping on the Kingsfield to A803 road at Burghmuir.Commercial waste dumped on Bonnytoun Farm to Bonsyde Road in November. Inset: Fly-tipping on the Kingsfield to A803 road at Burghmuir.
Commercial waste dumped on Bonnytoun Farm to Bonsyde Road in November. Inset: Fly-tipping on the Kingsfield to A803 road at Burghmuir.

The resulting clean-up costs had also surged, from £947 in 2022 to more than £2500 last year.

SNP councillor Pauline Orr asked if it was possible a link could be made to reduced opening hours at the town’s Recycling Centre.

Andy Johnston, NETs Land and Countryside Manager, told the meeting: “The one thing I would draw your attention to is that it is enquiries and not incidents. The increase from 14 to 52. There are multiple reports of one incident.

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“That’s a result of the fly-tipping campaign Don’t Waste West Lothian that was launched last September to raise awareness and encourage people to report. That’s why we see a jump, because it is enquiries not incidents. There were 38 incidents from 52 enquiries.

“We have had success on the back of that. There have been two fairly large scale incidents in the Linlithgow ward. One we received nine enquiries to the same incident from various witnesses, the other we received five reports from various witnesses.

“What we have been able to do on the back of that is gather evidence and been able to corroborate evidence. We have identified the culprits in both incidents and been able to follow that through and successfully issue fixed penalty notices.”

Mr Johnston said that there’s no evidence of any link between recycling centre site opening time changes and fly-tipping.

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The bulk of fly-tipping is commercial waste rather than household waste, which the council sites deal with. Mr Johnston said that surges in fly-tipping could be down to significant increases in the cost of legal disposal of commercial waste, up to £200 a tonne for bulky waste such as furniture.

In the Linlithgow ward 13 of the 38 incidents reported were on private land which were passed on to the owners.

Mr Johnston added: “It’s very positive to see that more incidents are being reported following the launch of our campaign last year. By actively encouraging reporting, we are able to find more culprits and take action.

“The first one was Bonnytoun Farm to Bonsyde Road Linlithgow in November 2023, where we had 13 separate reports of the same fly-tip. Obviously commercial building materials.

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“The other location was Kingsfield to A803 at Burghmuir on private land owned by the Scottish Government, with maintenance falling to an appointed contractor. We got many reports about this also.”

Councillor Tom Conn said people were too quick to blame the council being at fault for fly-tipping.

He added: “Until we start condemning people who are actually doing it then fly-tipping will continue, or the penalties are increased to make it an effective deterrent.

“With the existing penalties it is to take a gamble as to whether you ditch in the countryside or follow the normal process.”

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