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Caithness News Bulletins June 2004

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SEPA Highland Council    
Cooking Oil Clampdown

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is advising caterers to make sure they are disposing of their waste cooking oil properly. Some hotels, restaurants and takeaways in Caithness and Sutherland are pouring the oil down drains or abandoning drums of waste in remote areas.

Cooking oil, like other kinds of oil, is harmful to wildlife and can block drains. SEPA will be carrying out random checks at caterers in the area during the second week of June to check that businesses are taking their environmental responsibilities seriously.

Team Leader Chris Matthews, of SEPA's Thurso office, said: "We appreciate that it isn't a great substance to deal with and that some people might think it won't do any harm to put it down the drain. It is messy and difficult, but there are companies who can take the waste oil away and dispose of it properly. We are not trying to catch people out - we just want caterers to be aware of the issue and what they can do about it. Illegal disposal of oil can result in prosecution and a fine, but that is a last resort."

Caithness and Sutherland does not have recycling facilities for waste cooking oil, but there are carriers registered with SEPA that will collect and dispose of the oil responsibly. Contact SEPA on 01847 894422 for details.

The random visits will take place during the week beginning Monday 7 June. The initiative is part of SEPA's national fly-tipping action week. Anyone who wants to report fly-tipping should contact  -
the Stopline on 0845 2 30 40 90.

The Stopline was launched in March by actor Richard Wilson, who also featured in a TV and radio adverts highlighting the problem of illegal waste disposal. The campaign is run by the Scottish Flytipping Forum, of which SEPA is a member.