Stirling’s SNP MP Alyn Smith has called for a maximum penalty of £5,000 for littering.
Smith has written to the Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf calling for a new maximum penalty to be considered for people who are caught littering.
This comes after 21 people were charged with a number of local by-law offences in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park area.
An increase in incidents involving people littering and causing environmental damage to woodland areas across Stirling has also been reported, which is a danger to animals as well as human health.
The charges were also raised by SNP MSP for Stirling Bruce Crawford during First Minister’s Questions this week, and Mr Smith’s office has also been in contact with Police Scotland, and Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park regarding the matter.
Stirling Area Commander for Police Scotland confirmed the charges put against people involved hold a maximum penalty of £500 if found guilty.
Commenting on the situation Alyn Smith MP said: “Stirling is the beautiful heart of Scotland and everyone is welcome, but play the game, littering and fly tipping is a massive problem and the existing laws are not tough enough.
“What we have seen in the National Park area in recent weeks is nothing short of appalling, and a complete disregard for the beauty of our natural surrounding area.
“To see tents left behind, sleeping bags abandoned, general litter strewn across woodland, and trees destroyed by fire damage is heart-breaking and is the behaviour of a minority of people that simply should not get away with behaving like this. The Stirling area is a beautiful place to visit, and needs to remain that way for everyone.
“By-laws are in place to tackle some of this behaviour, and the Scottish Government has recently committed to tougher action on fly-tippers. However, the current penalties do not appear to deter some people from treating our outdoors with complete disregard, and I fear it will get worse as the Summer progresses with more trippers and staycations.
“I want to see the powers that authorities have already taken toughened, to really urge those who would otherwise leave litter behind to take it away with them.
“Of course, not everyone who litters should have to face a maximum £5,000 penalty, but the option for tougher fines should be available to address some of the larger scale damage that can be caused by their reckless behaviour. Just as a fly-tipper can face a fine of up to £40,000, so too must people who damage our local environment face tough justice.
“My message to people visiting the Stirling area is simple: you’re welcome to visit, we want you to come. But, when it comes to litter: if you can bring it, you can take it away with you.”
Image credit: The Herald