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Highland Council's plea to visitors and the people of Strathspey and Badenoch and the rest of the region to bin litter or take it home with launch of Zero Waste Scotland’s new campaign: Scotland Is Stunning – Let’s Keep It That Way – the campaign, which highlights the beauty of Scotland’s lochs and mountains, city parks and country woodlands, is backed by the Scottish Government and Keep Scotland Beautiful

By Ian Duncan

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One of the campaign posters.
One of the campaign posters.

Highland Council has issued a plea to visitors and the people of the region to play a positive part in ensuring the Highlands remain a pristine and litter free place for all to enjoy.

The local authority supports Zero Waste Scotland’s new campaign: Scotland Is Stunning – Let’s Keep It That Way, which aims to inspire people getting out and about to enjoy the great outdoors without leaving litter, reminding them they should either bin litter or take it home.

The campaign – which highlights the beauty of Scotland’s lochs and mountains, city parks and country woodlands – is backed by the Scottish Government and Keep Scotland Beautiful.

The council is supporting the campaign with new specific digital assets and posters letting visitors know that Highland is Stunning – Let’s Keep it that Way, featuring an iconic image and informing us that ‘Hamish’ was in the Highlands but you would never know as he left no trace and took his rubbish home.

The posters are placed at major tourist sites across the region and can be customised to be specific to certain areas.

Councillor Margaret Davidson, the council leader, said: “We warmly welcome the return of visitors to the Highlands and we ask everyone to ‘leave no trace’. We urgently need a radical change in behaviour to Keep Scotland stunning and protect our wildlife and environment.

“It is estimated that 80 per cent of marine litter washing up on beaches started out on land. As well as being harmful, dropping litter is a criminal offence.

Councillor Allan Henderson, the chairman of the council’s Communities and Place Committee, said: “The council has increased bins and waste capacity across the Highlands for the coming season, as well as extra uplifts to try to keep the Highlands stunning.

"If bins are full, please take all rubbish away with you, as in rural locations it can be a few days before the next collection is possible. If for some reason you aren’t near a bin or the bin is full – take your waste with you and dispose of it when you can safely – don’t leave it next to a bin as wildlife can tear the bag and litter can blow away.

"Each year the council spends over £2 million on cleaning up litter, money that could be much better spent investing in our local communities and improving the road network. We welcome this approach from Zero Waste Scotland and see it as an opportunity to educate and change behaviours – enjoy the Highlands of Scotland, make memories and leave no trace.”

Research carried out by Zero Waste Scotland indicated that 89 per cent of people in Scotland are concerned about litter levels and see it as a problem in their area – recently, 34 per cent of the population have seen an increase in litter since the pandemic.

Barry Fisher, Keep Scotland Beautiful's chief executive, said: “We know from our work with communities across Scotland that most people want to do the right thing and take action to make all of Scotland stunning again.

"Our evidence shows that we’re facing a looming litter emergency across Scotland, so we’re delighted to support this campaign. We all can, and should, do more to tackle litter. And while some people need to change their behaviour, thousands of people have pledged to litter pick as part of our Summer Clean, helping them turn their anger into action.”

People can report litter using the report form on the council’s website – an £80 fine for dropping litter can be issued. Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste and fines range from £200 to £20,000 or the offender can receive six months in prison (up to five years if hazardous waste is dumped).

To support the campaign and encourage others to do the same, please download the campaign toolkit, or visit ZeroWasteScotland for further details.

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