Shropshire’s litter louts pay £7,500 in fines

Nearly 200 litter louts have been fined across Shropshire in the past 12 months, bringing in more than £7,500, new figures have revealed.

bin litter stock

More than 100 fines for a range of littering offences were issued by Telford & Wrekin Council in 2011/12, with nearly 50 handed out by Shropshire Council. Telford & Wrekin Council collected more than £5,200 in fines, with over £2,300 being taken by Shropshire Council.

Offences for which people were fined included the careless disposal of items such as food wrappers, food, cigarettes, drinks containers and chewing gum.

The information has been released as part of a report by the Manifesto Club, which is campaigning against on-the-spot fines.

It made a series of Freedom of Information requests to councils, revealing that 63,883 littering fines were handed out in England during 2011/12.

The organisation said the figure highlights a massive increase in the number of fines being handed out in the last 15 years – with just 727 issued in 1997/98.

Manifesto Club director Josie Appleton said: “Fines tended to be used as a last resort, to discipline wilful offenders when other methods – public awareness campaigns, provision of litter bins, and so on – had failed. In the past few years, in some councils, litter fines have taken on a very different role: fines have become a first resort, used at every available opportunity.”

A Telford & Wrekin Council spokesman said: “Telford & Wrekin Council issued 130 fines for littering over the last year resulting in £5,225 being paid.”

Grania Miller, Shropshire Council’s environmental enforcement team leader, said: “We issued 47 fixed penalty notices in 2011/12. Most were paid at the reduced fine of £50 and some at the full fine of £80. We had an income of £2,350 from these.

“Littering is a form of anti-social behaviour which costs taxpayers millions of pounds annually to clear up.”

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Comments for: "Shropshire’s litter louts pay £7,500 in fines"

Bill

Good that the deterrence measures are being implemented.

Good that there has been some revenue from fines.

Probably not so good - the cost in court fees, officers' time, legal costs and administration overheads in bringing these cases.

I would suspect that once you add up the costs base this (in commercial terms) is a serious 'loss leader' and the P&L account shows a wopping deficit, probably running into the tens of thousands. An FOI request should be made.

That said, at the end of the day the social benefits may be considered worth the net cost to the taxpayer

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Zilch UK

Litterers cost councils in the UK almost £1bn a year; a cost that is borne by every council tax payer and that could be better spent. But because most people don't litter the majority end up paying for the irresponsible behaviour of the minority.

Dropping litter, spitting gum, treading-out fag ends on the pavement are all voluntary actions that degrade the local environment, make high streets thoroughly unpleasant places and lower property values.

So why shouldn't councils employ measures that are proving to be effective in eliminating this blight? After all, all the campaigns imploring people to do the right thing by putting litter in the bin and educational efforts seem to have failed. Time to get tough as being part of a civilized society demands that its citizens carry their share of that responsibility and that includes disposing of rubbish responsibly.

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