Shaping the new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy

Our research shows that 88% of Scots agree that litter is a problem across Scotland. And 70% are concerned about the problem in their area. 

This year we have supported people across Scotland to have their voices heard and to make responses to the recent consultation by the Scottish Government on a new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy for Scotland. 

The Scottish Government has now published the Analysis Report on its consultation for a new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy.

During the consultation period we supported Scottish people to make their voices heard and are heartened by the number of responses made from local authorities and public bodies, the private sector, community groups and individuals across Scotland.  It was clear people wanted to see urgent action to improve their neighbourhoods and tackle littering behaviours. 

We listened to those we work with, to young people, to communities, to businesses and to local authorities and their responses informed our own response to the consultationIt is also clear from the analysis report that there are high levels of support for the key recommendations of our 2020 report – Time for a new approach to tackling litter.

We've welcomed the publication of the analysis report, in particular:

  • the overwhelming support (88%) to develop and adopt a national campaign on litter;
  • that almost 70% of people support the creation of a national litter hub to support local communities;
  • the strong appetite (82%) to establish a community focused education programme - we are currently trialling our ‘Litterate’ community education programme;
  • that four in five responses support conducting further research and to understand the full range of drivers behind littering behaviours;
  • the support of 73% to review available litter data and reach agreement on a common approach to data collection, one which supports the identification of common litter items and hotspots, which 93% wish to see, and also empowers people to contribute through citizen science, which 69% wished to see; and
  • that 82% support the formation of an action focused group to encourage collaboration and support innovation.

We are now looking forward to the publication of the new strategy, which we are calling to be effectively resourced from the outset to ensure it meets the expectations of those who took part in the consultation process and delivers for the people of Scotland.

How we got here

In early 2020 a review was completed of Scotland’s first National Litter Strategy (launched in 2014), but progress with the outcomes of the review was put on hold as a result of Covid-19. The outcomes of the review were published in early 2021, highlighting key successes of the Strategy and the progress made. It also recognised that litter and flytipping are deep-rooted problems that continue to pose a significant challenge across Scotland. 

Our report – Time for a new approach to tackling litter – published in December 2020 set out clearly the current situation in Scotland with regard to the decline in local environmental quality and the primary drivers of this decline. It specifically highlighted the role that unsustainable consumption played in driving the looming litter emergency, and the wider negative impacts that this had with regard to climate and biodiversity. 

It set out a package of recommendations on how the Scottish Government, public agencies, local authorities, communities and other stakeholders could work collaboratively to take action to reverse this decline, recognising that no one organisation could do this acting in isolation. 

Since late 2020 we’ve been working in partnership with the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland to progress these recommendations, including organising a successful national Litter Summit in March 2021 following which the Scottish Government committed to developing a new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy which will define litter and flytipping as two separate issues of equal importance and will set out to identify coordinated and collaborative action to tackle each. 

We worked with them and Zero Waste Scotland to support the development of this new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy for Scotland including facilitating workshops with key stakeholders to help inform the draft strategy and consultation.  The consultation paper was published on 13 December 2021 and closed for consultation on 31 March 2022. 

The new strategy will consider the pollution caused by litter and flytipping within the context of a leakage to the circular economy and contributing to the climate and biodiversity crisis. With Scotland declaring a climate emergency in 2019 and hosting COP26 in November 2021, the contribution that preventing litter and flytipping can make to protecting our climate and biodiversity should not be underestimated. 

We continue to collaborate with partners post-consultation to drive implementation, working to make Scotland clean, green and sustainable. 

Find out more about our ongoing campaigns to support communities to tackle litter - Clean Up Scotland and Upstream Battle, our data surveying across Scotland.

National Litter and Flytipping Strategy for Scotland

The Scottish Government has been developing a new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy for Scotland which had a 15-week public consultation period.  We supported the process alongside Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). 

The public consultation closed on 31 March 2022.  



How we monitor local environmental quality across Scotland

We understand issues such as litter, dog fouling, flytipping, flyposting and graffiti, because for almost 20 years, in partnership with Scotland’s local authorities, we have carried out annual surveys at a random selection of sites across Scotland every year using the Local Environmental Audit and Management System (LEAMS). This information enables local authorities to be efficient with their local cleaning activity and informs their policies and campaigns to tackle these issues. It also supports the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Scotland) 2018 which require local authorities and others to keep specified land and public roads clean and litter-free.

Over the years we have used the data collected to produce annual reports and key reviews highlighting national trends. Check out the findings from the 2020/21 report.

We continue to work in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland and local authorities on the transition of LEAMS towards the development and implementation of the new Litter Monitoring System (LMS) to provide greater consistency of approach and improve transparency in cleanliness grades.

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