By Denna Bowman
Illegal tyres dumpers are facing a major crackdown as Scottish environmental officers launch an operation targeting the waste cowboys.
As many as a million tyres a year have been dumped on Central Belt waste ground since 2004, while more than five thousand illegal dumping incidents have been reported, many in the west of Scotland.
The illegal fly-tipping of old tyres is a huge environmental problem, but the culprits are now facing a crackdown by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), which is determined to catch dumpers.
Sepa has been running major campaigns against tyre dumping in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West Lothian, however, cleaning up the dumps is time-consuming and expensive, the agency says.
In an operation codenamed Operation Aspen, hundreds of visits were made last autumn to garages and other vehicle businesses to remind them to ensure their tyres are disposed of responsibly by registered waste companies.
Some old tyres can be retreaded and reused. The rubber can be recycled into soft surfaces for play areas or tennis courts, or put to various industrial uses. Tyres can also be burnt in incinerators to produce energy, though this can be controversial.
Sepa’s waste and enforcement manager, John Kenny said the organisation is continuing to gather intelligence on dumpers.
“Sepa will also determine whether similar type operations should be undertaken in other geographical areas,” he said, “and whether this type of intelligence-led regulation can be rolled out to other areas of our regulatory work.”