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Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN)

Anyone caught dropping litter, including cigarette butts, chewing gum, in Somerset West and Taunton will face a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) under a litter enforcement scheme running from April 2022. This is in response to local residents and businesses stating that street cleanliness is important.

A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) is issued under either the Environment Protection Act 1990 or the Cleaner Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. They will be issued in situations where an authorised officer of the Council has witnessed or has proof that someone has committed an environmental crime.

If you are caught dropping litter you will receive an on the spot FPN of £100.00 (reduced to £80.00 if paid within 14 days).

If the FPN is not paid and a case goes to court, the maximum fine for littering is £2,500.

The scheme is run by enforcement company EH Commercial Services Ltd (EHDC), who are also working along the south with:

  • Southampton
  • Salisbury

The scheme operates on a zero-tolerance policy. There is no formal right to appeal against a fixed penalty notice (FPN). If you do not agree that you committed the offence, you can decide not to pay the FPN, and the matter will then be decided by a court. It will then be up to the court, on receiving the evidence, to determine whether an offence was committed and therefore whether any fine should be imposed. The maximum fine on conviction is:

  • £2,500 for litter

As this is expensive and time consuming for both parties, we have introduced internal appeals process to help resolve disputes before they get to court. Such challenges can be made within 14 days of the issue of the FPN.

Cases where a challenge may be considered favourably include, but are not limited to instances where you can demonstrate that:

  • No offence was committed, or the fixed penalty notice has been wrongly issued, for example the person had exception under the law
  • The offence was committed by someone else
  • The offence wasn't the fault of the person against whom the notice was served, and there was nothing they could do to prevent the offence
  • We shouldn't have served the notice because the offender is under 18, or is physically or mentally incapacitated or has some other incapacity that prevent them from understanding that they committed an offence
  • There are significant extenuating circumstances that temporarily affected the ability of the person to comply with the law
  • Serving the notice is not considered to be in the public interest - but don't forget, we have a duty to enforce the law - and fixed penalty notices are designed to be a quick and easy way to deal with minor offences

There are a range of reasons where an appeal will not be considered, and these include:

  • Ignorance of the law - the test would be whether a reasonable person would be aware that an offence had been committed - most people know that dropping litter is wrong!
  • You didn't know an offence had been committed - the test would be whether a reasonable person would have known what had happened
  • You couldn't prevent the offence - the test would be whether a reasonable person could have taken steps to prevent the offence occurring
  • It's not in the public interest to pursue the offence - although these are minor offences, the levels of litter, are something that concern local residents, and Somerset West and Taunton need to respond to these concerns by making sure the law is enforced. The authority also spends a lot of money cleaning the streets, and anything we can do to stop litter helps us to do this more effectively.

Only appeals made in writing can be considered.

Please quote the reference number shown on the FPN that is pre-fixed 'ST' and is 10 characters long, for example: ST12345678.

Appeals can be made by:

Emailing environmental.enforcement@easthants.gov.uk or writing to:

FAO Environmental Enforcement Office Supervisor,
EH Commercial Services Ltd,
Penns Place,
Petersfield,
GU31 4EX

This scheme is run by East Hampshire District Council and, therefore, any contact / complaints / appeals must be made in writing to them and not Somerset West and Taunton. We are unable to deal with enquiries at our Offices. All representations must be made in writing, representations cannot be made in person or by telephone.

Every appeal will:

  • Be considered on its merits, on the basis of the information and evidence provided by the person who received the FPN and the enforcement officer who issued the FPN.
  • Receive a full written response, normally within 14 working days. Where a more detailed investigation is required, appeals will be acknowledged in writing with an indication on when you can expect a full response.

Where appeals are not upheld, the reasons for this will be explained, a further 14 day period given for payment will be given and details of the Councils' complaint procedure will be provided.

The funding of the scheme comes directly from payment of FPN's. The Councils liaise with EH Commercial Services Ltd to target problem-areas within the Somerset West and Taunton.

The aim of the scheme is to:

  • Reduce litter
  • Raise awareness that dropping litter may result in a fine
  • Provide education on environmental impact
  • Create a cleaner, safer environment for communities throughout Somerset West and Taunton

We live and work in one of the most beautiful places in the country and yet we have to spend tax payers' money keeping our district clean and tidy.

We believe that if we could reduce littering, some of that money could be saved and spent on more important community services.

Reduce litter

Please dispose of all litter responsibly - either put it in a bin or take it home.

You can help reduce roadside litter by not throwing litter out of your vehicle window and keeping a bag in your car to collect rubbish.

If you know of a litter hotspot which would benefit from a visit from our officers, see:

Alternatively, you can report any littering to either environmental.enforcement@easthants.gov.uk or environmental.enforcement@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk

Litter is anything that is thrown down or dropped and then left.

This includes:

  • cigarette ends and cigars
  • food waste for example apple cores
  • chewing gum
  • sweet wrappers
  • food containers