As a public body, Scottish Canals has a duty to keep our land clear of litter and refuse under section 89 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (As amended).  The Scottish Government has provided statutory guidance to public bodies on fulfilling the duties under the act through the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Scotland) 2018, (COPLAR).  It was recognised that collecting litter alone did not solve the issue of littering and the COPLAR was updated in 2018 to reflect the importance of prevention in tackling the issue.

Under COPLAR public bodies are required to zone their land based on footfall/vehicle movement and/or high risk litter sources.  Zone 1 being extremely high footfall/vehicle movement and/or high risk litter sources and Zone 5 being extremely low footfall/vehicle movement an few high risk litter sources.

Images of litter on grass and in courtyard
Images of litter on grass and in courtyard
Images of litter on grass and in courtyard
Images of litter on grass and in courtyard
Images of litter on grass and in courtyard
Images of litter left on the ground, broken glass and used needles

Scottish Canals has zoned our land ownership based on the guidance in the COPLAR.  The zoning map can be found in the link below -

Scottish Canals COPLAR Litter Zoning 

Each zone is provided with timescales which must be achieve by depending upon the grade of litter and refuse present.

The grades of litter are set from A, reflecting no litter down to F that has potentially dangerous materials that need to be removed as early as is practicable, as shown below.

The response times provided for each zone are structured in to four bands (1-4) depending upon the investment in prevention.

Effective prevention results in areas being cleaner for longer and this is reflected in the time period given to collect the litter.

Areas that have high levels of litter are given shorter time scales to remove litter than cleaner area.  Zones with high footfall also have shorter time periods in which to remove litter.

Full details of the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Scotland) 2018 can be downloaded below:

Reporting an incident

If you wish to report an incident of littering or fly tipping please email