Litterlouts Shouldn't Get Away With It
06 October 2006
The Keep Britain Tidy campaign today urged councils to become smarter at issuing fines to people for littering or not cleaning up after their dogs.
The anti-litter charity warned that while it?s good to see councils taking enviro-crime seriously, they should only be issuing fixed penalty notices to people when they have sufficient evidence and are willing to chase up non-payment through the courts.
The move comes after the Local Government Association revealed that more than 17,000 fines had been issued by local authorities for litter, dog fouling and fly-tipping since April - yet figures suggest that thousands have been left unpaid.
Peter Gibson, spokesperson for Keep Britain Tidy said: "Litterers have told us that the best way to get them to use a bin is by fining them. But the fact that some of these fines are not being paid and not being pursued by councils, means that they are not the powerful deterrent they should be."
Keep Britain Tidy would like to see councils run more education campaigns aimed at getting people to use a bin and clean up their dog's mess, along with issuing fines - and prosecuting people when they don't pay.
Taking people to court for non-payment is costly for councils. But if local authorities train their enforcement officers to only issue fines if they have enough evidence to back up their claim, Magistrates could make the culprit pay a larger fine and cover the council's costs.
Keep Britain Tidy has been working with the Magistrates Association for the past few years and has seen many more Magistrates realise the negative impact of enviro-crime and so increasing the fines they give.
Back in June, a Manchester woman was fined a record £800 and ordered to pay £800 costs for repeatedly letting her dog foul the streets where she lived.
Peter Gibson concluded: "The new Clean Neighbourhoods Act gives councils the wherewithal to really clamp down on those who deface and damage our environment. Now the challenge for councils is to use the powers effectively and responsibly. There is plenty of training and support available to help them. They can also rely on the support of the public who are sick of paying out to clean-up other people's rubbish."