A Deposit Return Scheme, reviewing enforcement arrangements and incentives for businesses to produce more environmentally-friendly packaging are some of the proposals in a new report.
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths MS called on everyone to “play their part” in eliminating litter and fly-tipping from Wales’ cities, seas and countryside.
The Minister today (Thursday, January 28) launched her new plan: ‘A Litter and Fly-tipping Free Wales’, which outlines how the Welsh Government intends to crack down on the issue, while inviting anyone in Wales to submit their own ideas on how to tackle the problem.
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “There are no excuses for littering and fly-tipping. I want to see an end to these antisocial behaviours which are a blight on our streets, beaches and countryside, with the cost of clearing often borne by the public.
“As well as being unsightly and spoiling our enjoyment of our towns and countryside, litter – particularly plastic litter and fly-tipping –impacts our health and well-being, and threatens Wales’ wildlife and habitats alike, risking their loss not just for future generations, but for those alive in Wales today.
“The goals set out within the plan are far-sighted ambitions, and enforcement will play a key role – but enforcement alone isn’t enough to tackle these issues, and we will need everyone to play their part at every level of production, use and disposal to not only reduce litter, but to stop items from becoming litter in the first place.
The Minister added: “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have taken the opportunity posed by lockdown to explore their local areas, and green spaces close to their homes – but sadly, we have also seen single-use masks discarded on the ground, and pleas from the National Trust and National Park Authorities for people not to discard their rubbish in beauty spots.
“Such sights are evidence of why new arrangements have to be introduced to help tackle these twin issues, and to encourage people not only to dispose of their rubbish properly, but to consider alternatives to single-use and disposable items.”
A number of strategies are already underway to help drive down the improper and illegal disposal of waste items in Wales, and moving towards the use of more sustainable produce, including ambitious plans to stop the use of single-use plastics in Wales.
Some of the actions outlined in the new plan include:
- Incentivising businesses to produce more environmentally-friendly packaging;
- Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme to help cut down on the littering of drinks containers;
- Improving the monitoring and reporting of incidents of fly-tipping, on both private and public land;
- Launching a national anti-litter awareness raising campaign
- Reviewing current enforcement arrangements for litter and fly-tipping, potentially increasing penalties if needed; including exploring how Wales could introduce legislation to crack down on littering from moving vehicles;
The consultation runs until March 25.
Lesley Jones, Chief Executive of Keep Wales Tidy, said: “Litter and fly-tipping have significant and far-reaching social, environmental, and economic impacts on communities. We strongly believe that a prevention-based approach is needed if we are to effectively tackle these issues and welcome the launch of this important Welsh Government consultation.
“It is an exciting development that we hope will lead to bold policy decisions and joint working across sectors to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. We will be playing our part with Caru Cymru – an ambitious new partnership project with Local Authorities and Welsh Government, aimed at encouraging communities to take action to eliminate litter from our landscape.”
Neil Harrison, Team Leader at Fly-tipping Action Wales, said: “Fly-tipping Action Wales welcome this renewed commitment from Welsh Government to tackle fly-tipping in Wales through a combined Litter & Fly-tipping Prevention Plan.
“Fly-tipping has wide-ranging negative impacts on the environment, the economy and local communities in Wales. A collaborative approach is essential in tackling fly-tipping and we encourage members of the public and all relevant businesses and organisations to share their views by responding to this consultation.
“The Litter & Fly-tipping Prevention Plan provides opportunities for us to build on the progress made to date in combatting fly-tipping in Wales and we look forward to working collaboratively with our partners towards achieving its aims.”