Tuesday July 18th 2023
Fro left to right, Depute Leader Councillor Colin Cassidy, Environmental Crime Team leader Paul and Cabinet member with responsibility for community justice Cllr Stuart McKenzie.
A new dedicated environmental crime team will be cracking down on flytipping, dog fouling, littering and other offences.
During the year-long pilot, the team of three wardens will have power to issue statutory and fixed penalty notices of between £80 and £200 to offenders and report potential crimes to the procurator fiscal. Those convicted of serious environmental crimes could face up to 12 months in prison and fines in excess of £40,000.
Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for community justice, Councillor Stuart McKenzie and Depute Leader Councillor Colin Cassidy met Environmental Crime Team Leader Paul on Thursday at a flytipping hotspot in Dalkeith.
Cllr McKenzie said: “Today we’ve seen refrigerators just dumped outside the entrance to flats and a shopping trolley already filling up with rubbish – these are absolute eyesores and have to stop.
“It’s so easy to recycle and pick up your rubbish yet people are still committing environmental crimes that are having a detrimental impact on residents, local businesses and wildlife.
“Dog fouling, fly-tipping and littering are among the top issues residents contact the council to complain about.
“Whether we work or live in the county, we all want to enjoy and be proud of a clean, green Midlothian. That’s why this council is determined to take a firm stand to make sure local areas are not blighted by environmental crimes.”
Cllr Cassidy agreed. He added: “By setting up a dedicated environmental crime team we’re sending out a clear warning to offenders ‘we’re coming to get you’.”
Cllr McKenzie added that responding to environmental issues was also a drain on council resources. Fly tipping alone costs the council around £60,000 a year.
He said: “We estimate the cost of funding the new posts – solely dedicated to tackling environmental crimes – and the associated costs of setting up the scheme – will be offset by the extra enforcement income.”
CCTV will be put in known hotspots to act as a deterrent and help identify perpetrators. The three dedicated members of the environmental crime team, who will complement the work of existing wardens Tam and Donald pictured, will also wear video cameras to help gather evidence.
Cllr Cassidy said: “These guys are experts in their field. They’ve got numerous tools at their disposal and work like detectives, piecing together evidence to build their case.”
As well as catching those responsible, the new team will also educate local people, including school groups, to encourage them to change their behaviour, he added.
To report an environmental crime use the Council’s online form or call 0131 561 5284.Tweet Share on Facebook