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Litter trial results indicate early positive impact

31 May 2022 : Council news, Community, Environment

Results from Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) Council’s litter enforcement trial indicate the scheme is already having an impact, positively influencing attitudes towards littering and helping to clean up the district.

The 12-month trial scheme, which aims to make Somerset West and Taunton a clean and safe place to visit, is being carried out in partnership with East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) and since launching on 1 April 2022, 346 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) have been issued to people carelessly dropping litter in urban and rural hotspots.

Two new Enforcement Officers have been recruited locally and deployed through EHDC’s wholly owned, ethical enforcement company EH Commercial Services (EHCS), with delegated authority to curb littering. The new Enforcement Officers work with local police where applicable and always carry a council identity badge displaying their identification numbers.

Littering carries a maximum fine of £2,500 and potentially, a criminal record. Those caught dropping litter can opt to pay an on-the-spot fine of £100, or £80 if paid within 14 days of the fine being issued.

Executive Member for Environmental Services, Cllr Andy Sully, said: “I’m very impressed with the success of the trial so far, which is being funded directly from the Fixed Penalty Notices issued.

“It’s fully supported by residents and businesses who wish to see a cleaner, litter-free district as a result and the feedback we’ve received has been really positive. They appreciate that most people who visit our towns and rural areas refrain from littering, so they’ve welcomed a clampdown on the few that do.

“I urge those who’ve been issued with Fixed Penalty Notices to pay their fines to avoid prosecution. It should also be noted that, under Section 88 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it’s a criminal offence to withhold personal details when issued with an FPN, which could lead to additional fines of up to £1,000 and the Enforcement Team is also working in partnership with Avon and Somerset Police to uphold this legislation.

“I hope the trial encourages everyone to take pride in our towns and rural areas, as well as inspiring them to take a proactive role in keeping them tidy and pleasant for everyone.”

In addition to this year’s Great British Spring Clean campaign, the trial scheme also supports the Council’s recently adopted Litter Strategy, which aims to reduce litter more widely through education to increase public awareness, as well as the recent installation of over 200 litter bins to facilitate responsible disposal and increase recycling rates.

Members of the public wishing to report litter are encouraged to use the Council’s online Litter and drug debris form.

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