The National Litter and Flytipping Strategy for Scotland

In 2021/22 we supported people across Scotland to have their voices heard and to make responses to the consultation by the Scottish Government on a new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy for Scotland. 

You can read the Analysis Report published by The Scottish Government following the consultation, and also see our own response to the consultation.

We eagerly anticipate the publication of this strategy in early 2023.  We are working hard with partners, including the Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to develop a strategy fit for purpose. However, we have been clear that no further delay in its publication or implementation is acceptable to us, and we have also been clear in defining what our asks for the new strategy are whilst emphasising that it must be supported by a fully financed and resourced action plan over its ten-year lifetime. This is essential if the strategy is to meet the expectations of those who took part in the consultation process and deliver for the people of Scotland.

The consultation

It was clear from the workshops and facilitated sessions we led during the consultation process that people wanted to see urgent action to improve their neighbourhoods and tackle littering behaviours. 

It was also clear to us, and from the analysis report, that there were high levels of support for the key recommendations we made in our 2020 report – Time for a new approach to tackling litter.  Many of which we have echoed in our update report - Time for a new approach: tackling the litter emergency.

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.

The background

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. 

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.


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