Perth: Smart Waste – Tackling Fly-Tipping

December 11, 2020



Project Overview 

One of the objectives of the Perth Smart Waste project is to tackle fly-tipping by using the FlyMapper application (app) owned by Zero Waste Scotland to report and manage fly-tipping incidents. It combines field recording of incidents via a mobile application and allows management of data through a central database which is shared by organisations such as local authorities, SEPA and Police Scotland. 

While developing the proposals for the rollout of FlyMapper to operational teams, the Smart Waste Team was made aware of the Perth & Kinross Council (PKC) Corporate Mobile Working solution, TotalMobile. Subsequent discussions between PKC Waste Services, the IT Mobile Working Team and Zero Waste Scotland confirmed that TotalMobile could meet the project’s requirements. As a consequence, the decision was made to connect both applications and record the fly-tipping incidents via a bespoke TotalMobile solution. 

Why is it needed? 

Fly-tipping, or the illegal disposal of waste, is a major problem in certain areas of Perth & Kinross. It is an environmental crime and an unnecessary activity, given the many appropriate avenues for disposal of household and commercial waste in place across the PKC area. 

Fly-tipping can be hazardous to health, causes environmental damage, looks unsightly and costs considerable sums of taxpayers’ money to clean up. 

More widely, fly-tipping occurs in both urban and rural areas and clearing it up costs Scottish local authorities more than £2.5 million each year. It also undermines legitimate waste businesses, where illegal operators undercut those operating within the law. 

Impact and Benefits 

Data collected via the FlyMapper app is sent to Zero Waste Scotland for upload to their FlyMapper global database via an automated feed; this ensures that PKC contributes to national data capture on fly-tipping. Details of recorded incidents are also kept in PKC internal database to identify hotspots and assist fly-tipping prevention. The advantage of using the in-house TotalMobile application is the possibility of delivering additional functionality for PKC – such as details of overflowing bins, damaged bins or dog fouling. The introduction of this new and bespoke TotalMobile application could potentially be applicable for other cities in Scotland. 

Perth Street-Sweeping Crews were introduced to the new smartphones and the TotalMobile application in September 2018 and after 6 weeks of support have been independently using the application on a daily basis. The new reporting tool has proved to be very successful and eliminated the need for a manual, paper-based recording of fly-tipping incidents. It has also helped with the recording of evidence of fly-tipping in that all of the evidence can now be recorded through the application without the need of collecting it from the dumped waste and bringing it into an office environment to action. 

To strengthen the FlyMapper / TotalMobile introduction and to maximise its impact, the Council also reinstated its Fly-tipping Forum. First started in May 2018 the meeting between Perth and Kinross Council and SEPA was the first step in partnership work to tackle the growing and complex fly-tipping problem. More parties have now joined the Fly Tipping Forum including the Police Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland and major landowners. Other interested parties who are involved in fly-tipping then joined the subsequent Fly-Tipping Forum meeting in October 2018 (Zero Waste Scotland, Police Scotland and several major landowners). It is hoped, long-term, that the Forum will help to share the available intelligence and will be a key to reducing the scourge of fly-tipping in Perth and Kinross. 

For more information contact Magda Jakub, Smart Waste Systems Officer, Perth and Kinross Council – MJakub@pkc.gov.uk