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Addressing the litter emergency together

Data shows us the levels of litter on our streets is getting worse, and communities deemed the most deprived are affected the most. It has never been more important for us to connect to as many organisations as possible to join forces and work in partnership to address the litter emergency.

This was our theme for Scotland’s Local Environmental Quality seminar 2022/23 which took place 24 January. Our first in person seminar since 2019, it was a chance to showcase presentations, hold workshops and networking to share learnings and ideas.

We welcomed 75 delegates from a wide range of stakeholders, made up predominately of local authorities but also including a range of other duty bodies, Scottish Government, third sector organisations and businesses. We have been working with local authorities for over two decades and in partnership we carry out annual audits using the Local Environmental Audit Management System, or LEAMS.

At the seminar, our Campaigns and Social Innovation Manager, Paul Wallace, set the scene for the day outlining key findings from our latest State of the Nation report. Our local environmental quality data shows a continuing decline, and the public agree it is an issue of significant concern.

Throughout the day we had several external speakers. Nicole Paterson, Chief Executive Officer for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency provided the keynote presentation on the need for innovation, collaboration and change to tackle the litter emergency.  Glasgow City Council presented on its innovative use of analysing a wide range of data to steer policy and target resources effectively. We heard from the Circular Economy Division of the Scottish Government on a review of enforcement of litter and flytipping offences. Diffley shared further insights into the Scottish Litter Survey 2022 and founder of LitterLotto introduced the behaviour change app which we are trialling ahead of Spring Clean 2023.

Four workshops, running twice each Included the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) discussing its new strategy and priorities; Dundee City Council looking at local authority and community partnership working in Dundee; Falkirk Council highlighting the development and implementation of the Falkirk Council Litter Strategy and Litter Prevention Action Plan (LPAP) and our own Laura Watson, with North Lanarkshire, discussing developing partnerships.

Barry Fisher, our CEO, said: “It was fantastic to attend and chair the first Local Environmental Quality Seminar since 2019 in Stirling and see so many people from across the country attending.

“We know Scotland is experiencing a litter emergency. By working together with commitment, energy and determination we can tackle and solve this issue.

“Ahead of the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy for Scotland, which will be published in March, it was inspiring to see so many groups working collaboratively.

“I would like to thank everyone who attended and contributed, from local government, the public sector and our partners. The time to act is now and together we can fix the litter emergency.”

We continue to monitor litter to provide data to inform and evaluate action, and are committed to taking and inspiring action to tackle the litter emergency.

25 January 2023

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