Fife Council has pledged to take a no-nonsense approach to festive fly-tippers amid fears more illegal dumping could happen over the New Year period.

Several instances have come to light in the last few days including fencing and roofing materials abandoned on the Westfield Road sometime on Monday night and a mountain of rubbish simply piled up next to a recycling point in Cowdenbeath.

With household recycling centres due to close on January 1 and 2, the local authority has urged every resident to do their bit and avoid resorting to fly-tipping. 

Sandy Anderson, Fife Council’s service manager for waste operations, said it is “everyone’s responsibility” to ensure waste is disposed of correctly, adding: “It is disappointing that some members of the public have misused our recycling points.

“Unfortunately, an issue, particularly at this time of year, is the misuse of recycling centres and points. It is illegal to dump rubbish at gates of recycling centres over public holiday festive closures.

“In addition to taking action to ensure that the sites are kept clear, the council will adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to any such illegal activity and will take steps to identify those doing so.”

Recycling points were also serviced as a priority on Monday, given the amount of rubbish generated over the Christmas period.

A spokesperson for Safer Communities Fife said the latest example of illegal dumping at Westfield was an “all too common an example” and one we all need to “work together to combat”.

The group suspects the materials were strewn aside by an individual or individuals who had been paid by someone thinking the waste was going to be disposed of through the proper channels.

“If you know or have any idea where this has come from please let us know,” the spokesperson added.

“In the meantime, please help us spread the word of the importance of vetting businesses – asking how they are going to dispose of any waste.”

Fife is also considering its response to a national consultation on a new National Litter and Fly-tipping Strategy, which has proposed a range of measures to prevent the practice, improve data collected and strengthen enforcement.

These include more than doubling fines for fly-tipping from £200 to £500, the maximum permitted by current legislation, and also asking if they should be raised beyond this cap. 

Other ideas include the increased and improved use of data to locate and target litter and fly-tipping hotspots, and the creation of a national fly-tipping forum to discuss how to implement the new strategy and share best practice when tackling fly-tipping. 

Terry A’Hearn, chief executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said: “Fly-tipping is not only immoral, it is illegal and waste crime poses a risk not only to human health and the environment, but also to urban and rural businesses, and communities. 

“Waste dumped illegally in laybys, rural locations or holes in the ground, instead of being disposed of in the correct manner, means criminals are avoiding having to pay the costs a legal operator has to pay.

“Tackling waste crime is a priority for SEPA, and the information collected from this consultation could mean better sharing and co-ordination of fly-tipping data between us and partners, helping us manage our responses better.”