FLY-TIPPING figures for Dunfermline are skewed because they include incidents where residents have left bags of extra rubbish next to their bins.

That’s the claim from Conservative councillor Gavin Ellis who said refuse collectors have – correctly – been leaving the additional sacks but that Fife Council have recorded it as waste being dumped deliberately.

He says it’s not giving an accurate picture of the problem, with a report last week stating there had been 624 complaints about fly-tipping in the Dunfermline area between April 2018 and March 2019.

Cllr Ellis, who represents Dunfermline North, said: “These figures of fly-tipping are including one or two waste sacks being left at the side of a resident’s bin. While unacceptable, this is not what the public perceive as fly-tipping.

“When people think of fly-tipping, they think of commercial waste or household items being dumped. I would like to see the figures separated so we get a true reflection of what fly-tipping is happening in Dunfermline.”

He continued: “Someone putting a black bag of rubbish out next to their bin, because it’s already full, and then it not getting picked up by the refuse collectors, I’m not comfortable with counting that as fly-tipping.

“It’s excess waste. It then opens up more questions as to whether the person is struggling to recycle or using the right bin, and are we doing enough to help.

“When you see the figures, it does seem a lot but three-quarters of them could be down to residents putting waste sacks out next to their bin.”

And Cllr Ellis concluded: “When someone’s fly-tipping in the country, nine times out of 10 it’s not a resident that can’t get onto a civic site, it’s the ‘man in a van’ who offers to get rid of your waste for you and then just dumps it.

“It’s a problem across the country. They advertise on Facebook and social media and there’s no real way of monitoring them.”

Dawn Jamieson, the council’s team manager for safer communities, said: “There were 273 complaints of illegal dumping investigated from October 2018 to March 2019 and whilst you can take fly-tipping enforcement action for a bin liner lying beside a bin, I can advise that the council rarely ever receive these type of complaints.

“However, we do investigate waste that is dumped at recycling points.”

The figures were discussed at the City of Dunfermline area committee last week.

After the meeting, Lib Dem councillor James Calder said CCTV at the “highly problematic” Tesco recycling point in Duloch had made a difference in reducing fly-tipping.

He added: “While we still continue to have the problems, my message to fly-tippers is that you are more likely to get caught and receive a fixed penalty notice so please use the facilities that the council provides.”

The safer communities report also showed there had been, in the last financial year in the Dunfermline area, 175 complaints about abandoned cars, 83 about untidy gardens, 145 about dog-fouling, 22 about litter and 298 about noise.