Zero Waste Scotland joins national efforts to tackle waste crime

Zero Waste Scotland, Scotland’s resource efficiency body, will play a key role in work to stamp out waste crime in Scotland, it announced today (Wednesday 26th November) at a high-profile meeting of the Environmental Crime Task Force in Edinburgh.

26 Nov 14

Chief Executive Iain Gulland told the event, hosted by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, that Zero Waste Scotland would be working with SEPA, the industry regulator, on a research-gathering study which would recommend measures for local authorities, public bodies, and resource management businesses to take during procurement to avoid and prevent criminality.

Richard Lochhead, the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, also addressed today’s event together with representatives from Police Scotland, SEPA, the Scottish Government and others.


Speaking as Zero Waste Scotland announced the start of this important research on preventing waste crime, Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:


“I’m very pleased to announce today that we’re working with SEPA and others to take forward a major piece of work looking at how we prevent criminals from infiltrating public waste and resource management in Scotland. I’d like to urge both public bodies and resource management companies to engage fully with this piece of work.


“Harnessing the value of recycling is one of Zero Waste Scotland‘s key priorities. Waste crime frustrates efforts to work towards a more sustainable resource management economy.  Waste crime prevents public bodies, particularly local authorities, from capitalising on the economic benefits of good resource management. It also hampers legitimate companies, who we work closely with, by unfairly undercutting them. It’s therefore important that we work with partners to stamp out waste crime, which only benefits criminals and prevents Scotland maximising the environmental and economic benefits of good resource management. 


Iain Gulland concluded:


“Flytipping is also a form of waste crime that causes problems in many communities. Today we’re also announcing that the Flymapper tool, which helps local authorities pinpoint blackspot areas, and liaise with other agencies to help tackle waste crime in a strategic way, will be launched next year and we’d like to see all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities sign up in the new year.”


Common types of waste crime include illegal landfill sites, illegal storage or burning of waste, illegal export of waste, and flytipping. Criminals carrying out these activities ignore regulations which aim to create a more sustainable industry, and also undercut legitimate businesses by avoiding costs such as landfill tax. 


Failure to prevent waste crime can leave public agencies such as SEPA to shoulder the costs of criminal activities, like damage to the natural environment, while also leaving public agencies like local authorities at potential risk of procuring from a non-legitimate company.


Flytipping is the illegal deposit of waste on land, a waste crime, varying in scale from small scale domestic flytipping to large scale commercial flytipping of difficult to handle materials and potentially illegal waste sites.  It is also a major type of waste crime in Scotland – there are at least 61,000 incidents a year (or 27,000 tonnes of waste) flytipped.


FlyMapper, developed by ZERO Waste Scotland and SEPA, is recognised by the Environmental Crime Task Force as a tool to help build up the national picture of the scale of flytipping in Scotland. Mapping incidents will allow patterns to be identified and compared with other trends in the bigger waste crime picture.

Notes For Editors

  • Zero Waste Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to support the delivery of its Zero Waste Plan and other low carbon and resource efficiency policy priorities.
  • Zero Waste Scotland is helping Scotland to become more efficient in its use of resources. As a facilitator and enabler of change, we help to reduce waste, increase energy efficiency and promote responsible water use – all as part of a journey towards a low-carbon, sustainable economy.
  • Zero Waste Scotland has six key delivery priorities for 2014-15. These are: Supporting a circular economy; Harnessing the value of recycling; Transforming attitudes to food waste; Reducing the impacts of litter; Implementing resource efficiency savings; Accelerating the development of low carbon heat.
  • ZWS has led the development of FlyMapper in partnership with SEPA, Flytipping Action Wales and Natural Resources Wales. It is a national scale web-based information system to report and map flytipping incidents which will improve data, intelligence gathering and enforcement both locally and nationally, on private and public land.
  • More information on all Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes can be found . You can also keep up to date with the latest from Zero Waste Scotland though via our social media channels - Twitter | Facebook | Google PlusLinkedIn
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