Calls have been made for West Dunbartonshire Council to be given urgent guidance on when its recycling centres can reopen to curb the rising tide of flytipping.

The appeal has been made by Ross Greer MSP who says reopening of council-run centres, not just locally but across Scotland, will stem the upsurge roadside dumping that has occurred during the lockdown.

However, Mr Greer's claim that the Scottish Government had committed to issuing guidance to local councils on the reopening of centres has been described as "wrong" by environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham.

The minister said: "In fact, a statement is being jointly and collaboratively developed between government, COSLA and local authorities and discussions are under way about what practical steps may be required in relation to recycling centres.

“This joint approach recognises that the delivery of services - including operation of recycling centres - is the responsibility of councils but that they have a number of challenges – including in staffing, workers’ safety and physical distancing - to consider before re-opening.

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“In the meantime, while those maintaining essential waste services in Scotland work hard in difficult circumstances, no one should be fly-tipping.

"It is illegal, dangerous and unnecessary. Now is not the time to try and get rid of large items.

“We are all having to make adjustments and sacrifices in this difficult time. There are signs that our approach is working but we must all stay the course of lockdown to protect this fragile progress.”

Meanwhile, Mr Greer, a Green Party MSP for West Scotland, is warning there is likely to be a huge rush to recycling centres as the lockdown is eased and it was vital that this was managed safely.

He said: "The council will also need to speak to the trade unions ahead of any reopening.

"Workers must have confidence that their work environment will be safe and that they can raise concerns which will be addressed before they are expected to return to work.”

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Recently, the Reporter told how residents of Old Kilpatrick were angry that piles of rubbish had been left at the gates of the Ferry Road recycling depot, with locals branding it a health hazard.

However, the problem is country-wide, with Scottish Land and Estates saying it is heartbreaking that people continue to think it is OK to dump their rubbish on other people’s property in the countryside, leaving the owner of the land to foot the bill to clean it up.

Sarah-Jane Laing, the organisation's chief executive said: “We are extremely concerned about the damage flytipping is causing to Scotland’s environment, the harm it can cause to animals and wildlife and the overall public and private cost of clean-up."

A spokesperson for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “Travel to household waste recycling centres is not classed as an essential journey in Scotland and as a result our centres will remain closed until travel advice changes.

"We are already taking practical steps to consider how centres can safely reopen, including considering how physical distancing at centres can be maintained in order to help protect staff and members of the public.”