No one likes a litterer, or a filthy fly tipper. There’s probably more social media comment in Boston about littering and fly tipping than just about anything else. Now the penalties are about to become a bigger deterrent.
The current fine for those caught deliberately fly tipping and littering – and the definition in law includes cigarette ends, spitting, urinating and defecating – is to double from Thursday, August 1, from £75 to £150.
The hike comes as surveillance on the streets of the borough is due to increase with the recruitment of new enforcement personnel.
Cllr Yvonne Stevens, Boston Borough Council’s portfolio holder for environmental services, said: “We all hear, all the time, the many complaints made about litter in the streets and fly tipping. Most people would not dream of littering. They find a bin, or take it home with them to dispose of it properly. There are 172 litter bins in the town area alone – including 20 in Central Park, so it’s not as if the facility to properly dispose of rubbish on the move is not available.
“Disposing of rubbish properly means putting on-the–move litter in the litter bins, and not leaving bags of rubbish beside the bins. This is especially a problem in laybys. Bags of rubbish left beside layby litter bins are also classed as fly tipping.
“As a small council, with limited resources, our staff do all they can to help keep the town clean. Anyone about early enough will have observed the routine clean-up in the town centre and Central Park. We also have a programme of education which operates street by street, in schools and in different languages covering littering, fly tipping and contamination of the recycling collection, which is a big problem. Main contaminants in the borough’s blue bins are crisp packets, food waste and fabrics and textiles, all of which should go in the green bin.
“I do believe that the littering situation has been an improving one over the past few years. There are still some hot spots and I think there will always be some level of littering while there is a hard core of residents who don’t care and willingly litter with all sorts of rubbish. They don’t care about others impacted by their behaviour and have no respect for the environment they share with everyone else. Experts have failed to come up with a solution to this – these problems are evident not just in Boston but in every town and city throughout the land.
“Fines are a deterrent. Anyone who has already had to pay £75 for dropping a cigarette end will be much more cautious in the future. And with the littering fine increasing to the maximum allowed I am sure many more will learn from a very severe lesson.
“Our enforcement officers will report those seen littering, but any member of the public can also do this. They should never put themselves at risk, but the evidence we would require would be the nature of the littering offence, location, date and time and, if known, the identity and address of the offender and, if possible, a picture, as most people these days carry a phone with a camera. But, and I must emphasise this, they must never put themselves at risk of confrontation.
“Even easier is for the public to report littering from a car. Even if the offender is a passenger in a car, the driver is culpable, and all we need to pursue this is the make and colour of the car, type of litter, location, date, time, and, crucially, the car registration number. The identity of anyone passing on littering information will be kept confidential.”
Where the evidence is good enough a £150 penalty notice will be issued. This will be reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days. Failure to pay will result in the matter being referred to the courts. In the recent past littering fine dodgers have ended up being ordered by the courts to pay as much as £500. One was ordered to pay a total of £752 after failing to pay a fine for dropping a cigarette end and spitting at the same time.
The council has recruited Local Authority Support Ltd to assist with litter and fly tipping enforcement on a no-cost basis. In a similar arrangement to that which the council previously had with 3GS, enforcement personnel will patrol and issue and administrate penalty notices.
Cllr Stevens said: “This is an economically efficient way to gain additional support for our staff with the targeted aim of reducing littering and fly tipping at no additional cost to council tax payers.”
Additionally, from September 5, they will also be calling unannounced on businesses asking to see the duty of care documents they must, by law, possess detailing their proper disposal of their trade waste. Failure to produce could cost them a £300 fine.