A “blatant case of fly tipping” reported to both the police and Scottish Borders Council revealed that neither organisation was clear who was responsible for taking action.
The person who reported the fly tipping on the Southern Upland Way late last year said that although action was taken fairly promptly to remove the litter, who was responsible for the possible issuing of fixed penalty notices was by no means clear.
“I then contacted my local councillor to try to establish if proper protocols have been established between the council and the police and to get statistics of offence actions taken since 2013 to show that the system is still working. I have had no real information back to date,” said the local resident.
“My conclusions re the ‘policing’ of fly tipping is very much the same as for dog fouling i.e SBC restrict action to only clearing up and I suspect that no offence actions for fly tipping and possibly other polluting offences has been actioned since the SBC wardens were phased out in 2013.
“Thus it seems no authority is policing the polluters. This is probably down to SBC finance cuts but does not bear out the impression on SBC web pages that action will still be taken against polluters.”
A Freedom of Information request to Scottish Borders Council about the number of people who have been fined for fly-tipping over the past three years revealed that none have been issued. The council replied: “Scottish Borders council does not impose fines for either fly tipping or overfilling of bins and producing extra bags.”
Since losing the local wardens, Scottish Borders Council have not issued any fines to dog owners who do not clear up after their animals either and MSP John Lamont recently took them to task about that. Even where fines had been imposed pre-2012, little effort was made to ensure they were paid and many of them - 65% have gone ignored and unpaid by those issued with them.
A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said: “The council works with partners to follow up all reports of fly-tipping. If it is on private land it is the responsibility of the landowner, but if it is council land, the local authority has a responsibility to clear up the area.
“When clearing up fly-tipping on public land, the council tries to find identification which could provide information on who has dumped the materials but this is often difficult.
“We would continue to encourage members of the public to report illegal dumping on publicly owned land to SBC by calling 0300 100 1800, while fly tipping on private land should be reported to the National Dumb Dumpers helpline on 08452 30 40 90 or report to www.dumbdumpers.org.”