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Scottish Government promises tougher action on illegal waste

Scottish politicians have been told that a new law coming into force this week will help tighter enforcement of illegal waste practices.

The assurance came from environment and climate change minister Paul Wheelhouse after complaints in the Scottish Parliament of an unlicensed site near Glasgow airport that was said to hold 100,000 tyres.

 Labour MSP John Pentland raised the question of progress on the monitoring and regulation of tyre recycling and disposal.

 He said: “As the minister will probably be aware, there is a huge tyre dump on the flight path to Glasgow airport. Like the one near Wishaw General Hospital, it has 100,000 tyres, it is unlicensed and a fire there could have a catastrophic impact.

 “Despite the responsible recycler scheme, there is still a lot of illegal disposal. Almost all major enforcement actions involve exempt operations. Has the minister considered a moratorium on waste exemptions for end-of-life tyres?”

 Wheelhouse replied that the Government had no plans for a moratorium but regulatory action was being taken against the tyre site.

 He said: “As of today, I believe, Fergus Ewing [minister for energy, enterprise and tourism] has signed orders that allow the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 to come into force, so we now have an Act that we can use in implementing tighter enforcement.

 “The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has taken enforcement action at a number of sites and will continue to take action to bring priority sites back into compliance. As part of a comprehensive plan, Sepa will also work with waste tyre producers, such as tyre fitters across Scotland, to ensure that they take a high level of interest in how their waste is dealt with and to prevent them from dealing with non-compliant storage or treatment sites.”

Richard Lochhead

In another session in the Scottish Parliament, environment secretary Richard Lochhead, left, was asked what action was being taken against fly-tipping.

 He said the fixed-penalty level for fly-tipping had quadrupled this year to £200 and a national litter strategy would soon be published.

 “The strategy will include action on fly-tipping and will build on our existing support, through Zero Waste Scotland, to clean up and prevent what is an unacceptable blight on our communities.”

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