Get tough approach continues against litter louts

19 Jan 2017

The council is pledging to continue its tough line on people who drop litter or let their dog foul in the county.

A new Environmental Enforcement Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) Policy has been agreed which will look to use these fines rather than prosecuting offenders where appropriate - freeing up the courts from being overloaded with minor offences by first time offenders.

In 2015/16 a total of 469 FPN’s were issued by the local authority - the highest number ever by the council in one year - mainly for littering and dog fouling offences.

The policy also covers a number of other offences including fly tipping, abandoning vehicles and graffiti.

The Council was actually among the first local authorities in the UK, and the first in the region to use new powers introduced last year to issue a fixed penalty for fly tipping when a resident was given a FPN for £200 after being spotted tipping four bags of garden waste onto a grass verge  - just 25 yards from his house.

The council’s hard line is set to continue as it works to grow its ever growing tourism economy.

Business Chair Councillor Scott Dickinson said: “These environmental offences are not  harmless crimes - they cost the taxpayer money to deal with, inconveniences the public and is a blight on our beautiful countryside.

“With the county becoming ever more popular for tourists, with the economic boost that brings, it is unfortunate a small minority of thoughtless individuals act irresponsibly and antisocially.

“However we continue to have a zero tolerance policy towards such behaviour and this updated policy will ensure those who flout the law will pay for their actions.”

Along with enforcement, the council continues to take a more proactive approach in raising awareness of litter issues through educational initiatives such as the ‘Love Northumberland Hate Litter’ campaign, which targets litter hot-spots throughout the county and challenges the behaviour of people who litter.