SNP MP for Stirling, Alyn Smith, is calling for a maximum penalty of £5,000 to people who litter.
Mr Smith’s call comes after 21 people were charged with a series of local bylaw offences in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park area, following a number of incidents involving people littering and causing environmental damage to woodland areas.
The charges were raised by SNP MSP Bruce Crawford during First Minister’s Questions this week, and Mr Smith’s office has been in touch with Police Scotland regarding the matter.
Stirling Area Commander for Police Scotland confirmed that the charges brought against the individuals involved hold a maximum mental of £500 if found guilty.
Alyn Smith MP said:
“What we have seen in the National Park area in recent weeks is nothing short of appalling, and a complete disregard for the beauty of our natural surrounding area.
“To see tents left behind, sleeping bags abandoned, general litter strewn across woodland, and trees destroyed by fire damage is heart-breaking and is the behaviour of a minority of people that simply should not get away with behaving like this. The Stirling area is a beautiful place to visit, and needs to remain that way for everyone.
“Bylaws are in place to tackle some of this behaviour, and the Scottish Government has recently committed to tougher action on fly-tippers. However, the current penalties do not appear to deter some people from treating our outdoors with complete disregard.
“I want to see the powers that authorities have already taken toughened, to really urge those who would otherwise leave litter behind to take it away with them.
“Of course, not everyone who litters should have to face a maximum £5,000 penalty, but the option for tougher fines should be available to address some of the larger scale damage that can be caused by their reckless behaviour. Just as a fly-tipper can face a fine of up to £40,000, so too must people who damage our local environment face tough justice.
“My message to people visiting the Stirling area is simple: you’re welcome to visit, we want you to come. But, when it comes to litter: if you can bring it, you can take it away with you.”
Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park tweet regarding littering and environmental damage:
BBC coverage of charges:
Photograph of litter at Ben A’an, sent to Alyn Smith MP