Fighting Litter Around the UK: West Lothian Council, Scotland
Like many councils around the UK, West Lothian Council is working hard to tackle litter and keep its streets clean. From improving on-the-go recycling facilities to cracking down on dog fouling, here’s what it’s doing to fight litter.
The council hands out on the spot fines of £80 for littering, and for any cases that go to court, fines can be as high as £2,500. Parents can also be prosecuted if their child drops litter and they fail to pick it up.
Installing on-the-go recycling bins
Recycling bins are now available at 26 sites across West Lothian, and residents who want to do the right thing can find them in parks, doctors’ surgeries, community centres, and other busy public areas. The bins will enable people to separate different kinds of waste for easier recycling while they are going about their daily lives. A local councillor commented that the council wants people to enjoy the outdoors, but added that it wanted to remind people of the importance of recycling while they are out and about.
People will be able to recycle their plastic bottles, mixed paper and cardboard, food tins and cans, and beverage cartons in the bins.
A spokesperson for The Ranger Service and Country Parks in West Lothian welcomed the recycling on the go initiative and said it aways encourages people to dispose of their waste responsibly to keep beauty spots looking beautiful.
Clearing the streets of fallen leaves
Between October and January each year, the council sends out crews to clean up leaves that can make pathways slippery when wet and block drains. The council does not clear up leaves from residential properties, but residents can report build-ups of leaves that might be causing an issue on its website.
Where residents have a build-up of leaves on their property, the council advises that they should be disposed of via home composting, put in their brown bin, or they can also be taken to a recycling centre. The council has advised residents not to sweep leaves into the road as this can cause hazards and drain blockages.
Tackling dog fouling
The council has launched Paws for Thought, a new dog-fouling initiative which aims to encourage dog owners to keep streets and parks clean.
The aims of the initiative are to:
- Reduce dog fouling, especially in known hot spots
- To improve communication with dog walkers
- To keep the local environment clean
Dog walkers are encouraged to be responsible and pick up after the dogs in their care, and dispose of any waste responsibly. People who flout the rules will be given fixed penalty notices under the Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003. Fixed penalties are usually £80, and this can rise to £100 if it’s not paid within 28 days. The council says it recognises that most dog owners do clean up after their dogs, but that enforcement is there to punish those who don’t.
Supporting the Eco-Schools programme
The council is an advocate of the Eco Schools programme, where schools work toward awards for looking after the school environment. School staff and pupils form a committee where areas of concern are highlighted and it’s decided how they will be addressed.
There are three levels of award that a school can be given. The Bronze and Silver Awards are self-assessed by the schools, but to win the Green Flag, assessors visit the school to judge whether its achievements meet the criteria. The Green Flag is the highest possible award a school can achieve.
Schools in Scotland that are part of the programme are supported by the local and national government. As part of the programme, schools tackle issues like:
- Waste minimisation
- Healthy living
- School grounds
The programme not only involves pupils and teachers, but parents, the local authority, the media, and local businesses are encouraged to get involved too; as any efforts to improve the school environment benefit the entire community.
Supporting the Low Carbon Skills Learning Resource
The council supports the national government’s ambitions to achieve a low carbon Scotland so it has thrown its weight behind the new national Low Carbon Skills e-learning resource which has been launched by Keep Scotland Beautiful. The aim of the resource is to make sure that young people understand about the impact of climate change and the need for sustainability at home and at work, as well as nurturing a generation of youngsters who will enter the workforce with skills and knowledge relevant to the growing sustainability movement.