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Fixed Penalty Notices for littering and fly-tipping

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Waste Investigations Support and Enforcement (WISE) work in partnership with us to investigate and issue fixed penalty notices for littering, fly-tipping, waste duty of care and fly-posting incidents.

You will be fined if you drop litter and walk away. Even if you volunteer to pick your litter up afterwards, you have committed an offence and will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).

Litter includes cigarette butts, chewing gum and associated materials. These items are just as problematic and expensive to clean up and do a lot of damage to the environment and waters. Placing a cigarette end down a drain or in a stream is still an offence and will result in the issuing of a FPN.

If there isn't a bin available, it is your responsibility to take your rubbish with you either to another bin or to dispose of at home. We are not required to place signs or bins in every street, road, highway or open park space.

Accidental littering

Officers do not issue Fixed Penalty Notices in cases of accidental littering. The term ‘accidental littering’ applies to circumstances where litter is dropped without intent, for example, something falls from a person’s pocket whilst they are walking along a street without their knowledge. This term does not apply to circumstances where a person did not know that littering was an offence. Officers are trained to assess whether or not litter was dropped accidentally or intentionally.

In cases of accidental littering, officers make the member of public aware of the incident and give them an opportunity to pick their litter up. Where members of the public disregard an officer's request and fail to pick up their litter, a FPN may be issued.

Pay your Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN)

If you have been issued a FPN for littering, fly-tipping, waste duty of care or fly-posting, you can:

  • pay online using a debit or credit card
  • pay with a debit or credit card over the phone by calling 0330 333 4382 and following the instructions for making a payment
  • pay by cash by taking the barcode on the FPN to a local Post Office or PayZone outlet

Discounts for paying a FPN early

The fees for FPNs are:

  • littering: £100 within 14 days, £200 within 28 days
  • fly-tipping: £500 within 14 days, £1000 within 28 days
  • fly-posting: £75 within 14 days, £150 within 28 days
  • household duty of care: £300 within 14 days, £600 with 28 days
  • failing to provide waste transfer notes: £180 within 14 days, £300 within 28 days
  • commercial waste receptacles: £75 within 14 days, £110 within 28 days

Appealing a FPN

There are no formal grounds of appeal against a FPN, if you do not pay your FPN, we may prosecute you.

The maximum penalty which can be imposed by the courts is:

  • littering: £2,500
  • fly-tipping: £50,000 or imprisonment
  • failure to provide waste transfer notes: £5,000

Refusing to pay a FPN

If you refuse to pay your FPN, you will be prosecuted for the offence. On conviction in court, the offences can carry a fine as above and you may receive a criminal conviction.

If you disagree that you have committed an offence

If you do not agree that you committed the offence, then the matter will be dealt with through formal prosecution via the courts. The court will decide whether an offence was committed and therefore whether or not any penalty should be imposed.

The financial penalty imposed by the courts can be significantly greater than the amount of the original fixed penalty and you may receive a criminal record.

Recording the conversation

Encounters between members of the public and our officers are recorded using Body Worn Video Cameras. These cameras are not used to record the offences themselves but are used to record the subsequent encounters with members of the public. The footage may be withheld during an investigation or criminal proceedings but the council will share information where it is lawfully able to do so.

Make a complaint against the enforcement officer's conduct

If you have specific concerns over the conduct of an officer during your engagement with them, you can write to WISE initially at who will consider the matter. We will only investigate complaints over officer conduct after WISE have carried out their own investigation.

If you have received a FPN, complaining about the conduct of an officer will not result in your fine being withdrawn as the offence has been committed.

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