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Littering FAQs

Litter can be as small as a cigarette butt and as large as a bag of rubbish or it can mean lots of items scattered around.

Legislation makes it clear that the term specifically includes smoking-related litter such as cigarette ends, cigars and like products, and discarded chewing gum and discarded remains of other products designed for chewing, such as bubble gum.

We want to encourage local people not to drop litter and help keep the district clean which is why we carry out enforcement action and issue fixed penalty notices to people we see littering or not cleaning up their waste.

Find out more using the links below:

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What is a littering offence?

A person is guilty of a littering offence if they throw down, drop or otherwise deposit, and then leave, any litter in any open air place, including private land and land covered by water.

Officers from our Environmental Health Team can issue fixed penalty notices (under section 88) to offenders as an alternative to prosecution. If people fail to discharge liability for the offence they may be prosecuted.

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What are the penalties?

Fixed penalty notices (FPN) will be issued when there is sufficient evidence to do so, both to motorists and pedestrians. A FPN is normally issued in preference to a court summons for littering offences, as there is no criminal record recorded if the fine is paid and the penalty is less than that of a conviction for littering.

Fixed penalty notice fines are set at £80 to be paid within 14 days (reduced to £60 if paid within 10 days). Offenders are not expected to pay the fine at the time of the offence or on the spot, offenders have up to 14 days to pay.

A person found guilty of a littering offence may be fined up to £2,500 in a magistrates' court.

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What happens if I refuse to pay?

Offenders who fail to pay a FPN will be issued with a summons and taken to court.

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Our litter patrols

We pay particular attention to areas where there have been littering problems in the past. We rely on members of the public to report these 'hotspot' areas to us.

Remember, if there is not a litter bin nearby, please take your litter home with you. The lack of a litter bin does not excuse you from being fined should you commit a littering offence.

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Report a litter hot spot

If you can provide details of an area and a time when littering occurs Environmental Health will try to patrol the area with a view of issuing fixed penalty notices to offenders.

An officer from Environmental Health has to witness the offence before we can take formal action such as prosecute or issue a fixed penalty notice.

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Littering from vehicles

Throwing litter from vehicles onto land is also a littering offence under section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

We take down the details of the driver's vehicle, including the vehicle registration number and the registered keepers name and address is obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

We will interview the registered keeper by letter to find out the details of the person who threw the litter. We will issue a fixed penalty notice in the post where the offender can reasonably be identified.

An officer from Environmental Health has got to witness the offence before we can take formal action such as prosecute or issue a fixed penalty notice.

Fill in our online form to report a littering hot spot area.

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Report a street cleansing issue

We are responsible for the cleansing of streets, pavements, footpaths, pedestrian areas and verges, and have a regular programme of cleaning in place.

In litter hot spot areas we can serve a Street Litter Control Notice where the management of certain premises do not take responsibility for the litter that their patrons produce.

Street Litter Control Notices can be served on the occupiers of certain premises requiring them to clear litter from the footway and adjacent land within 100m of their premises. This is to ensure that businesses take their responsibility for litter seriously. Premises where such notices may be served include food premises, betting shops and automated teller machines.

Notices can be served where there is recurrent defacement in the street, and the notice can require the occupier to clear litter and to install and maintain litter bins. It is a criminal offence not comply with such a notice. The maximum penalty upon conviction is £2,500.

Fill in our online form to report a street cleansing issue.

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Report litter on private land

Where private land is defaced by litter, we can serve the occupier of the land with a notice requiring them to clear it and take steps to prevent it from becoming defaced by litter again.

It is a criminal offence not to comply with such a notice. The maximum penalty upon conviction is £2,500. If the notice is not complied with the council also has the power to enter the land to clear it and recover the costs in doing so.

You can report private land to us that is defaced by litter. If the land is in such a condition that we feel that action is necessary we may choose to serve an enforcement notice.

Fill in our online form to report a littering hot spot area.

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Get in touch or visit...

Our location and travel details >>

Phone our contact centre: 01543 308 000
District Council House, Frog Lane, Lichfield, Staffs, WS13 6YY

If you need to contact a team direct, please visit our contacts page for team phone numbers and email addresses.

Opening times

Our main reception at Frog Lane in Lichfield is open Monday - Friday, 8.45am - 5.15pm. Our phone lines close at 5pm.