CONCERNS have been tabled by an MSP that closing the local recycling centres could encourage more fly-tipping.

On Tuesday Fife Council announced that they had taken the decision to close all recycling centres in Fife with immediate effect for at least three days.

The local authority said this was following the announcement by the Prime Minister and the First Minister on Monday that every citizen must stay at home (except for very limited purposes). These closures were also in line with Scottish Government guidance on social distancing and are for the safety of everyone.

The Cowdenbeath Recycling Centre at Cuddyhouse Road; and the Lochgelly facility at Cartmore were among the list of those closed. However, due to a change in hours these centres are on a weekly basis closed on a Monday and a Thursday (Cowdenbeath) and a Tuesday and a Friday (Cartmore).

But MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Alexander Stewart, is worried that this could lead to additional fly-tipping, in the countryside.

Areas around Lochore Meadows Country Park have suffered from this already this year and also sites on the Shawsmill Road, near Cardenden, and a road was blocked near Kelty by a huge pile of crates and other items were carelessly dumped on the Maryburgh Road.

Alexander Stewart this week warned against increased fly tipping in Central Fife and highlighted the health issues regarding this illegal practice, which costs local authorities and land and property owners millions of pounds each year, both in clean-up and enforcement.

This practice has a variety of causes, from people’s lack of awareness of their duty to dispose of waste properly – in addition to a lack of facilities due to closure or reduced hours – all the way to large scale criminal operations.

Scottish Conservative Deputy Chief Whip, Mr Stewart said: “Fly-tipping and illegal dumping are a blight on local environmental quality, a hazard to human health and wildlife, a source of pollution and ultimately a grave nuisance.

"In addition to all this; fly tipping costs private landowners, who are responsible for any clean-up, tens of millions of pounds per year in clean-up costs alone. There are also additional costs in running the appropriate reporting and response services, as well as hidden costs in amenity and environmental degradation.

"In Scotland, the National Litter Strategy sets out interventions to reduce fly-tipping by encouraging personal responsibility for disposing of waste and improving waste information, infrastructure, and enforcement.

"But we all must be vigilant, especially at this extremely difficult time when council tips and recycling centres are closed or are operating a reduced-hour service, due to a mandatory lack of staff".

The Cuddyhouse Road leading to the Cowdenbeath centre, on a weekly basis, sees a lot of litter gathering on grass verges and on occasions, more substantial items, carelessly dumped.

Local authorities and SEPA possess the powers to fine people who are caught fly-tipping, with a minimum fixed penalty of £200 and up to a £40,000 fine if prosecuted.

Mr Stewart concluded: "To this end, I very much urge everyone who spots an act of fly tipping, or illegally dumped waste, to contact the National Dumb Dumpers Stopline on 0300 777 2292 or email Stirling-based Zero Waste Scotland on:"