Litter picking

Clearing litter from public places costs Council's millions of pounds each year.  This is money that could be better spent on other public services.

The Law

It is a criminal offence to leave litter.  As an alternative to prosecution, Council officers have the power to issue a fixed penalty notice to a person they believe has committed this offence.  Council officers patrol the District to deter and detect people leaving litter.

Litter Patrol Questions

Q. Why is the Council undertaking litter patrols?

A. We want to deter people from leaving litter to improve the appearance of the District and to help reduce the money spent on clearing litter.  The revenue from fixed penalty notices goes back into keeping the District clean.

Q. What are the penalties?

A. The maximum penalty upon summary conviction for leaving litter is £2,500.  Cases are heard in the Magistrates' Court and those convicted usually receive a fine, a criminal record and are ordered to pay costs.  As an alternative to prosecution, Council officers may issue a fixed penalty notice in appropriate circumstances.  These are set at £75.

Q. Where does the law apply? 

A. It applies to any land or water, whether public or private, that is open to the air.  It applies to any litter that is thrown down, dropped or otherwise deposited and includes litter from vehicles.  Litter includes chewing gum and cigarettes. 

Q. Can children be issued with a fixed penalty?

A. Although people over the age of ten are responsible for their actions in law, the Council will only issue a fixed penalty notice to someone aged 16 or older.  For those aged 10-15, the Council may take a different course of action which could involve their parents, guardians or school.   

Q. What if there is no litter bin nearby?

A. If there is no litter bin nearby, please take your litter home with you.  The absence of a litter bin is no defence in law.

Q. Do I have to give the Council officer my details?

A. Yes.  The law requires that you give the officer your details.  If you refuse, or give false or inaccurate details, a further criminal offence is committed. 

Q. Does the fixed penalty have to be paid on the spot?

A. No.  The fixed penalty has to be paid within 14 days via the methods outlined on the notice.  The officer will never ask for any money from you.

Q. What happens if the fixed penalty is not paid?

A. The matter will be sent to the Magistrates' Court where the maximum penalty is £2,500.  The Council will also pursue all costs relating to the case.


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