Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

< Back to '28th April 2021' briefing

April 27, 2021

Lanarkshire’s litter 

Last time the travel restrictions were eased, there was an almost panicked exodus from the cities into the countryside with the result that many of the country’s beauty spots were trashed with litter and worse. In anticipation of a repeat performance, local authorities and communities have been making preparations by improving infrastructure and facilities for visitors. Despite their best efforts, if the experience of South Lanarkshire Council is anything to go by, King Canute had more chance of success. Each piece of litter is dropped by someone.

South Lanarkshire Council

More than 2600 bags of litter and 310 tonnes of illegally dumped waste were removed from roads in South Lanarkshire in March.

The month-long programme of work marked the council’s ongoing commitment to clean up roadside litter, as well as fly tipped material, from council land.

In support of Keep Scotland Beautiful’s roadside litter campaign, Grounds Services teams embarked on the spring clean on mainly rural road verges. Fly tipped material was also targeted at a range of rural and residential areas at more than 450 locations council-wide.

Among the haul was roughly 900 tyres, representing the largest single item dumped across the authority.

The work – which cost the council almost £100,000 in traffic management measures, manpower and disposal – took place over four weekends mainly in East Kilbride and Clydesdale, alongside targeted visits to collect fly tipped waste in 453 additional locations.

The breakdown of waste removed includes:

Fly tipping

  • Sites attended – 45
  • Tonnage of fly tipping uplifted – 310 tonnes
  • Cost  – £52,372

Road closures

  • bags collected – 261
  • Traffic management and disposal cost – £44,107

Alistair McKinnon, Head of Facilities, Waste and Grounds Services hit out at those responsible. He said: “The waste collected was all illegally discarded or dumped highlighting the extent of environmental crime across South Lanarkshire. Worse still, many see such action as a victimless crime; nothing could be further from the truth. This completely avoidable additional work cost the council £96,479, a sizeable amount of council tax payers’ money that could have been much better spent.

“There are thousands of litter bins across South Lanarkshire, especially in rural and tourist areas, and there really is no excuse for throwing fast food wrappers out of a car window, any more than there is for dumping tons of waste on a back road.

“While the council and its partners will always lead on the ways and means of keeping South Lanarkshire beautiful, we need each resident and visitor to step up and take personal responsibility for their actions and the effects they have on their communities. Take your litter home if you can’t bin it safely, use our household waste recycling centres for larger items, or book a special uplift. If each and everyone of us did that, we could genuinely make a difference.”

With weather improving, and covid-19 restrictions and travel bans easing, there’s also a message for visitors to parks, recreation areas and tourist sites as part of the council’s new anti-litter campaign – ‘don’t be an eejit’!

Added Alistair McKinnon: “We love nothing more than to see our amazing parks and open spaces being well-used in the sunshine. Unfortunately, that increasingly means not just used but abused with many people thinking it’s acceptable to leave their litter behind them. Clear-up teams spend hours each day picking up after visitors, trying to maintain safe and clean spaces for those who genuinely want to enjoy and protect their environment.

“Our campaign aims to put this simple message back on the agenda while highlighting the consequences for choosing to ignore it.”