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Fixed Penalty Notices FAQs

Below are the answers to some of the questions that are often asked about Fixed Penalty Notices.

Who will be issuing Fixed Penalty Notices?

Fixed Penalty Notices will be issued by legally authorised officers of the Council and Kingdom Environmental Protection Services.

What do you class as littering?

There is no legal definition of litter which can be anything that is dropped, thrown or otherwise deposited and left in areas where the law applies. This will include the type of material that you would normally consider as litter such as cigarette butts and cans but may also include urinating and spitting.

Do I have to give my personal details to a council officer as they are not police officers?

Under Section 88(8A) Environmental Protection Act 1990, if an authorised officer of a litter authority (the council) proposes to give a person a Fixed Penalty Notice under this section, the officer may require the person to give them their name and address.

How much is a Fixed Penalty Notice?

Fixed Penalty Notices issued can vary depending on offence but will between £75 to £300. However if you do not pay this you could end up in Court and be faced with a conviction and fine which is higher than the penalty.

Can I appeal against a Fixed Penalty Notice I have been issued?

No. There are no formal grounds of appeal against a Fixed Penalty Notice. This is because it is an invitation for you to effectively 'buy off' your liability to prosecution. This means that if you agree that an offence has been committed by you and paying the penalty in full no further action will be taken. This method of dealing with offences not only saves the time involved for everyone (including the offender) in prosecuting cases at court, but the cost associated with a Fixed Penalty Notice is likely to be substantially lower than any fine imposed by the courts. For example the maximum penalty which can be imposed by the Courts for littering is £2,500 along with a criminal conviction against the person.

What happens if I don't agree that I committed the offence for which I have received a Fixed Penalty Notice?

In this case the matter will be dealt with through formal prosecution in the court. It will then be up to the Court, to determine whether or not an offence was committed and whether or not any penalty should be imposed. The financial penalty imposed by the courts can be significantly greater than that which is imposed through a Fixed Penalty Notice.

I have been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for littering - I have heard that I don't have to pay the full amount if I pay it quickly?

The Fixed Penalty Notice fee is £100. There is a reduction to £75 if the notice is paid within 14days of the offence date.

Why should I pay, if there are no signs about littering in the area where I dropped it?

We are not required to place signs in every street, road, highway or open park/space to tell people not to litter. Litter legislation has been in force for many years. Littering in many parts of the UK is at such levels that local authorities across the country are now using Fixed Penalty Notices to drive the message home to those who spoil our towns and cities by carelessly discarding their rubbish.

Why should I pay a Fixed Penalty Notice when there were no litter bins nearby at the time?

It is not possible to place litter bins in every street, road and highway in the city. Of course every effort is made to place bins where they are most needed and where there are the most people, such as in town centres and major shopping areas. It is also a littering offence to deposit litter down a drain in the road. Where bins are not available then it is up to everyone to act responsibly and make arrangements to either take their litter home or carry it until a litter bin is available.

Cigarette stubs aren't really waste as they can't be placed in litter bins because they will catch fire?

Smokers are responsible for ensuring that they completely extinguish their cigarettes before placing them in the bin. Cigarette waste is the same as any other waste and you can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for not disposing of cigarette stubs properly. Obviously, to avoid any risk of fire. Cigarette ends should be completely extinguished on the stubbing plates provided on many litter bins before the stub is thrown into the bin. There is also no reason why smokers cannot carry portable 'butt bins' with them or create their own by placing some soil or sand in a small tin.

I wasn't given a warning, surely that is not fair?

Our anti-litter campaign “Why Would You!” has been continual in recent years. Organisations like the Keep Britain Tidy Group also do an excellent job in helping us get the anti-littering message over. Of course all the publicity in the world is of no use whatsoever if the message is being ignored. We take our enforcement duties seriously, and back up what is a serious and important message with action. This is the aim of our enforcement patrols who target those who ignore the littering laws which the rest of us abide by.

If I am caught I will just pick the litter up at that time and nothing will happen then will it?

The offence relates to the dropping, throwing or depositing of litter and leaving it. So whether or not you subsequently volunteer to pick up your litter afterwards you have committed an offence and will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice.

This is all a bit petty isn't it, what's the big deal about a few crisp packets and cigarette stubs anyway?

Littering is not only a serious blight on our environment but very costly to the council as well to the tune of £1 million.

What happens if I receive a second Fixed Penalty Notice within 12 months of receiving the first?

Should the same person commit the same offence more than once in any twelve month period, consideration will be given to prosecuting the individual rather than issuing a further Fixed Penalty Notice.

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