The upper limit for on-the spot fines for litter, graffiti and fly-tipping are set to rise as part of a crackdown on anti-social behaviour, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow announced on Saturday 8 July. Environmental crimes like littering and fly-tipping are cynical and opportunistic, damaging wildlife and nature, creating eyesores and ruining our enjoyment of the great outdoors. The new upper limit to fines will deter those who harm our public spaces and ensure that those who continue to offend face the consequences.
To help equip councils with everything they need and strengthen their arm, we have laid a statutory instrument increasing the upper limits for various fixed penalty notices (FPNs) on Monday 10 July. This means:
- The maximum amount those caught fly-tipping could be fined will increase from £400 to £1,000
- The maximum amount those who litter or graffiti could be fined will increase from £150 to £500
- The maximum amount those who breach their household waste duty of care could be fined will increase from £400 to £600
In addition to increasing the upper limit on fines, last week, the government launched a consultation on ringfencing the receipts from FPNs for litter and fly-tipping to fund local authorities’ enforcement and clean-up activities, such as spending the money raised from fining criminals on further enforcement officers.
The consultation seeks to understand more about how FPN receipts are currently spent and what the impacts of restricting the spending of these receipts to a set list of enforcement and clean-up functions would be.
The announcement this week is one of several made across government to mark Anti-Social Behaviour Week, now in its third year, which runs from 3-9 July.
So far this week as part of the national campaign, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport launched applications for the Million Hours Fund, which will enable the equivalent of more than 200 youth clubs to open their doors for an extra night each week in anti-social behaviour hotspots.
We have announced that more than 50 councils across the UK are to benefit from funding of £1.65 million from the Chewing Gum Task Force to remove discarded chewing gum from our streets and prevent it from being littered in the first place.
The Home Office has also launched pilots of the ‘Immediate Justice’ scheme, which sees those found engaging in anti-social behaviour made to repair the damage they inflicted on victims and communities, with an ambition for them to start work as soon as 48 hours after their offence so victims know anti-social behaviour is treated seriously and with urgency.
The government wants councils to take a much tougher approach to this type of anti-social behaviour and is clear that FPNs should never be used to raise revenue. Taking proportionate and effective enforcement action against people who intentionally or carelessly damage their environment is a practical step local authorities can take to change behaviour and deter others from offending.
In 2021/22, councils dealt with almost 1.1 million incidents of fly-tipping and issued 91,000 fines, along with other enforcement actions. We want to see councils use these on-the-spot fines much more. Local authorities will have the freedom to set the rates that offenders should pay, within the limits above.
The government committed to cracking down on anti-social behaviour such as litter and fly-tipping in the Prime Minister’s Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan, launched in March. This complements Defra’s wider work to tackle waste crime and take the fight to offenders.
In April, grants totalling £775,000 will help councils roll out a range of projects to crack down on fly-tipping were announced. Twenty-one local authorities will benefit from the grants, with schemes including roadside CCTV and social media campaigns in Plymouth and targeted surveillance at hotspot areas in Pendle.
Defra has also announced that fees for disposing of household DIY waste at recycling centres will be abolished – helping people to deal with their waste responsibly and removing a possible incentive to fly-tip rubbish.