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                                     Littering PictureBedford Borough Council wants to discourage local people and visitors to Bedford from dropping litter and to encourage them to keep the Borough clean. 


Think before dropping litter and use the bins provided around the Borough or take your litter home.


Litter can be anything from a sweet wrapper or cigarette end to a bag of rubbish. The size does not matter. Chewing gum and cigarette ends are classed as litter so please use the bins provided or dispose of litter sensibly.


Litter Enforcement

Littering is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and as amended by the Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005. An offence is committed if someone throws down, drops or otherwise deposits anything in any place (including over water) that is open to the air and to which the public have access. Littering is most commonly assumed to include materials associated with smoking and consuming food, confectionery or beverages that are improperly discarded and left by members of the public. Litter can be as small as a sweet wrapper, as large as a bag of rubbish, or it can mean lots of items scattered about. The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 specifically included cigarette ends and chewing gum and their wrappings in the definition of litter.


Littering has increased as more people than before have been reported throwing litter from their car and also dropping litter on the streets. Bedford Borough Council has a Zero Tolerance Policy towards environmental crimes, including littering. If you are seen littering in Bedford Borough you will be issued with an on the spot fixed penalty notice (FPN) of £100 by an authorised officer. Through access to the DVLA database, people seen littering from a vehicle are also liable for littering offences and may receive a fixed penalty notice through the post. The FPN is issued so that you may discharge your liability for the offence by paying the penalty and not face a prosecution. However, if you do not pay the FPN, the case will go to court where the maximum fine for littering is £2,500 and the prosecution will result in a criminal record.


 car cigarette

Impact on our Communities 

Litter affects communities dramatically with over 30 million tonnes of litter being collected from streets every year costing council tax payers £858 million a year to clean the streets of England. Some types of litter can take much longer than others to degrade. Plastic bottles can last indefinitely, aluminium drinks cans can last about 80 to 100 years and it is estimated that disposable nappies can spend up to 500 years in landfill depending on the materials used in production. Plastic bags given away by supermarkets last between 10 and 20 years. Orange peel, banana skins and apple cores can last up to 2 years, while cigarette butts are thought to take between 2 and 500 years to break down completely.

Littering can cause decline in the local neighbourhood as areas are continually degraded by litter, or private land that frequently accumulates litter and refuse, can set the scene for other environmental crimes and anti-social behaviour such as fly-tipping and graffiti.


Why Would You?

Bedford Borough Council has an on going a 'Why Would You?' campaign which is targeting environmental crimes such as Littering, Dog Fouling, Fly-Tipping and Graffiti. Information and posters for this campaign can be found around the Borough and also on Council vehicles, including Rubbish Collection and Street Cleansing vehicles.


Report your litter concerns

If your street is badly littered, you can report issues a number of ways.

Bedford LCS logo

  • By using our Online Form
  • By Mobile Application:  You can report any environmental offences by using Clean Streets Bedford. For further information, to report an offence or to download the App please use the above link.   
  • By calling the Environmental Services Helpdesk: 01234 718060


Information on Community Clean Ups and how to arrange community litter picks in your area.


Businesses have an important part to play

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 allows local authorities to serve Street Litter Control Notices on owners of certain businesses where there are regular accumulations of litter outside the premises, including cigarette litter. A Street Litter Control Notice places a legal duty on these businesses to keep the street outside their premises clean and may be served where businesses fail to clean up on a voluntary basis.

The council has installed a number of cigarette disposal units in the town centres but businesses can assist greatly by installing their own cigarette disposal units, encouraging staff to dispose of their litter in a responsible way and warning them of the possible consequences if they drop it on the street.

Businesses can receive further information and advice from the Call Centre on 01234 718060 or email: enviro-crime@bedford.gov.uk


Further information


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Transport and Street

From parking to public transport, roads, pavements, parking and much more, this section tells you everything you need to know about transport and streets in the borough of Bedford.


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