Appeal for information over illegal sewage dumping in Bute woodland

  16 May 2023
SEPA is appealing for information from the local community on the Isle of Bute after septic tank waste was found disposed of in a woodland near Loch Quien.

Scotland’s environmental regulator is appealing for information after several reports of sewage being illegally dumped on the Isle of Bute.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has received anonymous complaints on three separate occasions since November 2021. Photographs show what appears to be waste from septic tanks disposed of in woodland near Loch Quien and tyre tracks similar to that of a tractor or other off-road vehicle.

SEPA’s enquiries are ongoing, and an appeal is being issued for the public’s help to trace those responsible.  

Benedict Tustin, Senior Environment Protection Officer at SEPA, said:

“We’re asking members of the public to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to SEPA, such as unusual vehicle movements, or information on companies or persons known to be offering a septic tank service in the area.

“Bute has a close-knit community, and we believe someone on the island will have information that will assist our enquiries. We are urging them to do the right thing and come forward in confidence.”

Councillor Kieron Green, Policy Lead for Planning and Regulatory Services said:

“The illegal disposal of waste materials can have serious consequences not only to public health but also to wildlife and the landscape. If you’re out and about near Loch Quien and witness any suspicious behaviour, please help stop this irresponsible behaviour and contact SEPA.”

Members of the public can also stop criminals getting their hands on waste in the first place by checking service providers are registered waste carriers on SEPA’s website, and that the waste will be taken to a licensed site.

Criminals carrying out illegal waste activities can face significant consequences and those caught risk a criminal conviction. SEPA can also issue Variable Monetary Penalties (VMPs) of up to £40,000.

To report any suspected illegal waste disposal activity, members of the public can contact SEPA 24 hours a day, seven days a week at or by calling 0800 80 70 60.

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