Fighting Litter Around the UK: Newcastle City Council

Fighting Litter Around the UK: Newcastle City Council

Fighting Litter Around the UK: Newcastle City Council

Newcastle Council launched its ‘Your City, Your Home’ campaign earlier this year. It spent a whopping £2.2 million clearing up litter and fly-tipping in the previous financial year which it said could have been used to plant 5,000 trees, fill 40,000 potholes, or to support 100 children in foster care.

In these days of austerity, the council decided that it could no longer afford so much of its budget on which is essentially an avoidable problem. It decided, like many local authorities and organisations do, that trying to change people’s behaviour is the key to tackling the problem.

The campaign’s message

The message is loud and clear; the council wants everyone to be proud of the city, to take pride in it and look after it. It asks the question; you wouldn’t drop litter in your home, so why would you drop it in your city that’s your home?

Here’s how the council plans to clean up the city:

  • Carrying out deep cleans to blitz the litter and fly-tipping hotspots in the city. Back in the summer, the council encouraged people to do their bit to help keep the city tidy with a week-long community clean-up. To encourage and inspire residents, the week-long blitz started off in Byker, with members of the council’s cabinet and service directors donning their gloves and grabbing their litter picks for a clean-up of the Shields Road area. Staff from the Civic Centre also got involved and carried out a litter pick around the building, and local school children joined in with litter picks around their schools during the week. At the end of the week-long event, the council encouraged local residents and community groups to get out and hold litter picks to show people how proud they are of their city.
  • Encouraging people to report litter, fly-tipping or dog fouling online.
  • Encouraging residents to carry out clean-ups in their neighbourhoods and across the city. There are currently around 110 groups of litter warriors who regular go out and tackle rubbish in their local area. Residents can register a litter picking group with the council and get advice on how to organise an event. There’s also information on finding a litter picking group near you. The council encourages groups to post before and after pictures of areas they have cleaned up on social media, with the hashtag #trashtagchallenge
  • Enforcing litter laws by handing out fixed penalty notices or fines which could range from £75 to a maximum of £2500. In 2017-18, the council issued 3182 fixed penalty notices, and this increased to 5,025 in the following financial year. 758 people were also prosecuted; which is a huge 84% increase on the previous year.

One example of successful enforcement was the recent prosecution of A Newcastle man who was fined after admitting that he fly-tipped waste he collected after advertising himself as ‘a man with a van’ on Facebook. The man collected two van loads of waste from a woman in Sunderland who was having building work done. He charged her £50 for collecting the rubbish and he subsequently drove to Walker Riverside Country Park and dumped the waste. Environmental health officers were able to trace the rubbish, which included a bathroom suite, back to Sunderland. The man pleaded guilty to fly-tipping and was fined £360 and ordered to pay £350 towards investigation costs, £327 compensation, and £50 contribution towards legal costs.

A spokesman for the council said that it spends a huge amount of money clearing up litter that could be far better spent on front-line services and other things that benefit the residents of the city. He added that Newcastle is a beautiful city and most people who live there are very proud of it and want to look after it. Speaking about ‘Your City, Your Home’ he said this is what it’s all about; celebrating the groups and individuals that do their bit to look after the city and encouraging people to join in and show how proud they are to live here by keeping it clean.

If you live in the Newcastle area and you’d like to find out more about the campaign, visit which has lots of information on organising and promoting a clean-up, and using social media to promote the fact that everyone is coming together to help look after the city (by using the hashtag #yourcityyourhome, of course.