Officials at Renfrewshire Council have been asked to put more pressure on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to reveal information about an illegal landfill site in Johnstone.

Elected member John Hood tabled a motion at the latest council meeting, urging bosses to further investigate the dumping ground off Rannoch Road after water samples revealed high levels of toxic chemicals.

It received backing from fellow councillors, who also supported another motion put forward by James MacLaren calling on the local authority to write to SEPA and urge them to clamp down on fly-tipping in Renfrewshire.

Councillor Hood, who represents Johnstone South and Elderslie, said there had only been action from the environmental regulator at the site when it featured in BBC Scotland’s Disclosure current affairs series in January.

“I’ve been reporting this site for more than three-and-a-half years to our senior officers,” said the Labour councillor. “They have been back and forth with SEPA but nothing has happened.

“It’s taken a TV programme, Disclosure, before something was done and I think that’s absolutely shocking.”

Councillor Hood said many people living near the site have expressed fears about possible contamination.

During the meeting, council leader Iain Nicolson argued it had limited powers to investigate the site.

He said: “The question is of how we as a council get SEPA to use the powers they have and get access to the data they have with regards to testing the site, what their outcome findings are on it, etcetera.”

Kath McDowall, senior investigating officer for SEPA, said it takes organised waste crime “very seriously.”

She added: “Sites like that in Johnstone don’t appear by accident. The site has no authorisation which permits waste deposits, yet a large volume of waste has been illegally dumped over an extended period, with potential impacts on our environment, communities and the public purse.

“At SEPA, we’re committed not only to remediation but to holding those responsible to account. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to remediation and we’re working with the current landowner to tackle waste deposits.”

Anyone with information about waste being dumped illegally is asked to call SEPA’s hotline on 0800 80 70 60.