Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Rubbish from A to Z
In this series of blogs, we’re going to look at rubbish. From the good, to the bad and downright ugly, we’ll be looking at everything you ever wanted to know, from A right down to Z.
E if for enforcement
It seems like every day, we read a headline about over-zealous ‘litter police’ handing out penalty notices like there’s no tomorrow. There have been stories of people being followed into doctor’s surgeries by enforcement officers and when it comes to getting their man (or woman) there seems like there’s no stopping them.
But aside from the stories of strong-arm tactics, the bottom line is, people should take responsibility when it comes to not dropping litter. So what are the rules when it comes to enforcement? Here it is, in a nutshell.
What are fixed penalty notices issued for?
They can be issued for offences like:
dog control and fouling offences
nuisance parking (people selling or repairing cars on the road)
leafleting without permission on land where leafleting is restricted
failing to provide a waste carrier licence (for businesses transporting their own waste)
failing to provide a waste transfer note when moving non-hazardous waste
household bins causing or likely to cause a nuisance
Who can issue them?
Local authorities have different powers for what they can issue for a particular offence.
District and Borough councils can issue notices for:
Littering, fly-tipping, graffiti, fly-posting, dog control offences, alarm noise (no nominated keyholder), Noise Act offences, nuisance parking, unauthorised distribution of free literature on designated land, abandoning a vehicle, waste receptacle offences, failure to produce a waste transfer note or waste carrier’s licence.
County councils can issue notices for:
Unauthorised distribution of free literature on designated land, graffiti, fly-posting
Parish councils can issue notices for:
Littering, graffiti, fly-posting, and dog control offences (under its own Dog Control Orders)
Police Community Support Officers can issue notices for littering, dog control offences, graffiti and fly-posting.
The Environment Agency can issue notices for failing to produce a waste transfer note or waste carrier’s licence
The National Park Authority can issue notices for littering and abandoning a vehicle in areas where it has authority.
What should be on a fixed penalty notice?
Notices should always state:
Details of the offence (what type of litter was dropped etc)
Where and when it took place
How the notice has been issued (in person or by post)
How much the fine is, when it should be paid by, and how it can be paid
Details of the appeals process (if applicable)
NB if notices don’t include all of this information, they may not be genuine, so be vigilant.
Payment of penalty notices
Councils and other enforcement authorities can demand payment within 14 days. Instalments are usually accepted where people can’t afford to pay the full amount.
Where payment hasn’t been received within 7 days, a reminder letter can be sent detailing how much must be paid, and what happens if they don’t pay. People should also be reminded of the appeals process.
Rules for enforcement staff
Enforcement staff need to be properly trained, and they should have a uniform and wear identification at all times.
When people don’t pay their fines
Councils have the authority to take people to court. Legal proceedings have to take place within 6 months of the offence. All evidence of the offence, including written statements, notices, and letters sent to offenders need to be kept, especially when it’s likely that a case will go to court.
Issuing fines to young people
Fixed penalties can’t be given to anyone under the age of 10, though enforcement officers can contact their parents/guardians and make them aware of their behaviour.
How do councils spend the income they make from issuing penalty notices?
Councils must spend the income from penalties on anything related to litter, dog control, graffiti, fly-posting, nuisance parking, abandoning a vehicle, fly-tipping, noise nuisance, failing to show waste documents, and waste on land.
Which laws govern the issuing and enforcement of fixed penalty notices?
Environmental Protection Act 1990
Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005
Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003
Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014
Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978
Environmental Offences (Fixed Penalties) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2007
Environmental Offences (Fixed Penalties)(England) Regulations 2018
Unauthorised Deposit of Waste (Fixed Penalties) Regulations 2016