Environmental team to crack down on flytipping and other offences

Midlothian Council is to fund four full-time wardens to crack down on flytipping, dog fouling, littering and other offences as part of a new, dedicated environmental crime team.

Pilot project

During the year-long pilot project, the new team will have power to issue statutory and fixed penalty notices to offenders and report potential crimes to the procurator fiscal. 

Part of new strategy

The team is among a range of measures outlined in a new Environmental Crime Enforcement Strategy report approved by councillors on Tuesday.

Blighting communities

Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for the environment, Councillor Russell Imrie said: “Issues such as fly-tipping, littering, dog fouling, graffiti and fly-posting can have a massive impact on local residents and wildlife.  We all want to enjoy living in a clean, green environment and to feel proud of our area. That’s why we’re committed to doing more to make sure local areas are not blighted by environmental crimes.”

Drain on resources

Cllr Imrie said responding to environmental issues was also a drain on council resources. Fly tipping alone costs the council around £60,000 a year.

Cost offset by income

He added: “We estimate the cost of funding the four posts – solely dedicated to tackling environmental crimes -  and the associated costs of setting up the scheme - would be offset by the extra enforcement income.” 

Trusted trader scheme

Other planned measures include implementing a Neighbourhood Environment Team to improve the visual amenity of our areas; and making it easier for people to dispose of their DIY waste by setting up a trusted trader type scheme. The council’s website would list approved and vetted traders who legally dispose of waste from work such as installing a new kitchen. As part of a pilot project, the council would also issue one tonne bags for disposing of specific domestic waste that can’t go in household bins and hire a vehicle to take those away for householders.

Changing behaviour

Cllr Imrie said: “Educating local people and encouraging them to change their behaviour will be another important strand of the strategy. For example, we want to do more with young people to educate them on the need to take responsibility for their local area while local groups will be encouraged to set up neighbourhood environmental improvement teams to work with us on tasks like litter picking and planting.”

Extra CCTV

Cllr Imrie said CCTV will be put in known hotspots. He said: “This will acts as a deterrent but will also give the new environmental crime team crucial evidence to identify the perpetrators.”

Coming in summer

The new team should be in place by the summer of 2022.

18 Feb 2022