Fixed Penalty Notices explained

We take littering very seriously as it has a big impact on our environment and is very costly to deal with.

We issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) to persuade people not to carelessly discard their rubbish.

Reasons for being issued a FPN

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for littering, spitting, urinating, cycling in a restricted area and dog control order offences.

It is an offence if you:

  • drop litter (including cigarette butts and chewing gum) and walk away after you have dropped it
  • spit on to the ground in a public place
  • urinate in a public place
  • let your dog foul a public place and you walk away without clearing the mess
  • let your dog is in a restricted area or off a lead in a restricted area
  • cycle in a restricted area

It does not matter whether you volunteer to pick up the waste afterwards – you have committed an offence and will be given a FPN.

We do not have to put signs in streets or open spaces to tell you not to litter or that litter patrols are working in the area.

What we class as litter

Litter can be anything that is dropped, thrown or otherwise deposited and left in areas where the law applies.

This includes anything you would normally consider as rubbish such as cigarette butts, drink cans and food containers. It may also include urinating and spitting. It is also a littering offence to deposit litter down a drain in the road.

Cigarettes butts

Smokers must fully extinguish cigarettes before putting them in the bin. Many bins have stubbing plates you can use. You may also choose to carry a portable 'butt pouch' or 'pocket ashtray'.

By law, cigarette waste is the same as other waste – you can be given a FPN for not disposing of cigarette stubs properly. Placing a cigarette stub down a drain or in a stream is a littering offence for which you will be given a FPN

See the full list of offences and fines  

Placement of bins in Bedford Borough

We try to place bins where they are most needed and where there are the most people, such as in town centres and major shopping areas.

Where bins are not available it is up to everyone to act responsibly to take their litter home or carry it until a litter bin is available.

We are not required to place signs in every street, road, highway or open park/space to tell people not to litter. 

Repeat offenders

If a person commits the same offence more than once we will consider prosecuting them rather than issuing a further FPN.