Litter, Fly-tipping and abandoned vehicles


Littering is a criminal offence, throwing down or dropping an item in any public open space is classed as littering. If a person is found guilty of the offence they can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £80 or could potentially be prosecuted and risk a fine of up to £2,500.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 section 87 (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) defines the offence of leaving litter.

The Comhairle provides around 340 public litter bins across the Outer Hebrides.  These bins can become heavily used in the summer months so if a litter bin is full, please find another one or take your rubbish home. Do not leave rubbish beside litter bins as it is considered littering.  Your litter is your responsibility.


What is the most common litter?
Litter from smoking, including cigarette ends and packets.  Drinks containers, sweets, crisps and fast food are also very common.

Is it illegal to drop a cigarette butt?
Yes. Cigarette ends should be stubbed out and placed into a bin or a personal ashtray and kept until you reach a bin.

Are biodegradable things like apple cores and banana skins considered to be litter?
Yes, even though these will eventually degrade. Place these items in a bin or take them home.


The Outer Hebrides is a naturally beautiful area to live and visit, and is well known for its scenic landscapes.  Flytipping is not only a blight on the environment, it is also illegal and can be dangerous - especially to children and wildlife.  Flytipped waste includes:

  • Old furniture
  • Garden waste
  • Construction debris

We have powers to take action against flytipping under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Report Flytipping

When reporting an instance of flytipping, it is helpful if you can provide as much information as possible:

  • Location of the materials dumped
  • Details of materials
  • Vehicle licence plate and description of vehicle used to dump materials (photos are also useful)
  • Description of people seen fly-tipping

If you see anyone dumping rubbish illegally you can report it to Dumb Dumpers (Opens in a new window or downloads a file).

You can also Contact Us to report instances of flytipping.

Private landowners are advised to secure their land against flytipping.  Landowners are responsible for clearing up any flytipped materials and pay for its correct disposal.

Flytipping is also a criminal offence under Section 33 (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) of the Environmental Protections Act 1990;  flytipping is the illegal dumping of waste onto land that has no licence to accept it – from a bin bag of household rubbish to large quantities of tyres or construction waste.  If a person is found guilty of the offence they can be issues with a fixed penalty notice of £200 or could potentially be sentenced to imprisonment and risk a fine of up to £40,000.  The police have powers to seize vehicles used for flytipping.  The driver can be prosecuted, as can the person in control of the vehicle.

See Zero Waste Scotland (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)  for further information

Abandoned Vehicles

Abandoned vehicles are not only an eyesore, they can also become a danger to the public.

If you wish to check the tax status of a vehicle you believe may have been abandoned, you can do so on the DVLA Vehicle Enquiry (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) website.

To report an abandoned vehicle, contact Zero Waste Western Isles.

You will be asked to provide as much of the following information about the vehicle as possible:

  • Location
  • Registration number
  • Make and model of the vehicle
  • Colour
  • General condition of the vehicle

Disposing of Waste

Details of charges for disposing of different categories of waste in the Western Isles

Information on the community skip service

More information on waste collections for bulky items