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Litter and flytipping

Litter

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Keeping the borough litter free

In our borough we spend over £1 million each year removing 1,407 tonnes of litter from 1,400 streets.

Last year, 90 per cent of our streets were kept predominantly free of litter.

We all want to live and work in an attractive and safe environment but keeping an area clean is a lot harder than it might appear.

We will ensure that all litter bins in our town centres are emptied daily and those in other locations before they are three quarters full. If you see a full bin please report it.

Is it a crime to drop litter?

Yes, if it happens in a public place.

It is an offence to drop litter of any kind. The Environmental Protection Act of 1990 (EPA 1990) states that 'if a person drops, throws, deposits, or leaves anything that causes defacement in a public place', they commit an offence of littering.

The average fine is around £95 although a court does have the power to fine someone up to £2,500 (a Level 4 offence on the Standard Scale). Cases are heard in the Magistrates' Court.

Approximately 400 people were prosecuted last year by the police for littering. Alternatively, you can get a £50 fixed penalty fine for littering from a "litter warden".

Fly-tipping

The Council takes instances of fly-tipping seriously and will investigate all cases where details of individuals/companies are found within the rubbish.

Should you find any fly-tipping, you should not remove any evidence without an overview picture of the rubbish and further photographs showing the details within the rubbish along with close up shots of any names/addresses. It should be noted, you will be required to give us a full statement over the incident and you may well be required to attend court to give evidence in support of any prosecution.

Enforcing

Joint Enforcement Team Officers deal with low level anti-social behaviour such as littering, graffiti, fly tipping, abandoned vehicles, fly posting, dog fouling, begging and enforcing PSPO’s in partnership with Surrey Police. Any money made from Fixed Penalty Notices issued for infringing the above is retained by the Council, although the aim is to stop environmental crime from happening in the first place. 

Powers have been given to local authorities to clamp down on envirocrime.

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment bill gives councils additional legislative powers to combat the scourge of local environmental crimes such as abandoned vehicles, fly-tipping and discarded chewing gum.

But although councils would be able to retain the money generated from fines for offences, the aim is to stop environmental crime happening in the first place.

What can you do?

Put your litter in a bin or take it home with you.

Most of the population voices their disgust at seeing litter in the streets. However, research by ENCAMS (the Keep Britain Tidy campaign group) shows that nearly every adult in the population drops litter in varying degrees.

The most frequently littered items were those that were seen as small and less harmful, such as

  • small sweet papers
  • apple cores
  • cigarette butts and
  • chewing gum.

Eighty seven per cent of litter is caused by the public, and all sections of society are contributing.

However, most people do not consider that they are adding to the problem, but blame the following instead:

  • Teenagers
  • Education in schools
  • The council
  • Not enough bins
  • Bins not emptied frequently enough
  • Too much packaging and wrappings
  • Not enough prosecutions
  • Fines not high enough.