THE environmental watchdog is deploying drones to fight lockdown dumping, it has emerged.
Terry A’Hearn of the Scottish Environmental Potection Agency (Sepa) is ramping up its use of the flying spycams to fight the increase in fly-tipping.
Refuse centres have only just reopened, with long queues reported at some sites.
A’Hearn said there have been more instances of unauthorised dumping in recent weeks.
The practice has been linked to organised crime gangs.
Appearing before Holyrood’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, he said the agency had been using drones because lockdown restricted the number of in-person visits to likely dump sites.
A’Hearn said: “I won’t give much detail on some of the things that might lead to enforcement, because I might jeopardise the enforcement.
“We said at the start of the lockdown that we would be using a variety of techniques. We have intelligence relationships with authorities such as the police, we have the capacity to use drones and other techniques, which we had been using previously but we’ve accelerated and used more because we’ve got less ability to get out there.”
Later in the session, A’Hearn said the lockdown had actually shown the watchdog there are more effective ways to ensure compliance.
He said: “We actually think that, because we’ve started doing that a bit more in the last couple of months, there is more effective ways, even than site visits that might give us quite significant new evidence that can really approve our ability to ensure compliance and enforcement.”