Littering fines

Each year, Tamworth Borough Council spends almost £1 million cleaning up street litter. Street Scene collect in the region of 200 bags per week - and this doesn't include litter from our bins. People can now be fined £80 if caught dropping litter, this includes cigarette ends.

I have been issued a Fixed Penalty Notice for littering – I have heard that I don’t have to pay the full amount if I pay it quickly? That is correct, the standard cost is £80, if its is paid within 7 days the cost is £50.

Can I appeal? There are no formal grounds of appeal. A FPN is an invitation for you to effectively cancel your liability to prosecution. This means if you agree that you have committed an offence and pay the fine, no further action (prosecution) will be taken. This saves both you and the courts time. The cost of a FPN is likely to be substantially lower than a court fine. The maximum penalty for littering is £2,500.

What if I don’t agree that I committed the offence? In this case, it would be dealt with through formal prosecution. It will then be up to the court - on receiving evidence - to decide if a penalty should be imposed. If you appeal, you will take the formal court route. Please note: the financial penalty imposed by the Courts can be significantly greater than a FPN.

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 tell people not to litter/inform them litter patrols are operating. Litter legislation has been in force for many years.

Why should I pay a FPN when there were no litterbins nearby at the time? We cannot place bins in every single street or road. We try to place bins where they are most needed: the town centre, school routes and major shopping areas.

I received a FPN for stubbing out a cigarette on the ground or discarding it, surely that can’t be considered littering? Litter includes cigarettes and gum.

Cigarette stubs aren’t really waste - they can’t be placed in bins due to fire? You are responsible for ensuring  they are extinguished before placing them in the bin. Many of our bins have stubbing trays on the top.

But I wasn’t given a warning, surely that is not fair? Our litter campaign has been ongoing; this is no use if the message is being ignored. We take our enforcement duties seriously and the aim of our enforcement patrols target those who choose to ignore littering laws.

If I am caught, I will just pick the litter up and nothing will happen will it? Wrong: the offence relates to the dropping of litter and walking away once you have dropped it. Therefore you have committed an offence and will be issued with a FPN.

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 tax payer. Here are a few facts and figures:

  • £858 million is spent each year in England and Wales keeping the streets clean. That is £2.3M per day.
  • In Tamworth it costs £750, 000 per year to clean the streets of litter and dog fouling.
  • We collect more than 200 bags of street litter per week.