Waveney’s innovative scheme tackling litterers
17:00 06 November 2012
An innovative enforcement scheme in Waveney has seen the number of people fined for illegally dumping rubbish soar.
Waveney District Council has trained up its own staff and members of the public to report offenders as part of the “incident ticketing scheme”.
The impact has been a large rise in fixed penalty notices being given for littering, with all those taken to magistrates’ court for not paying being held up because of the level of information submitted.
Andrew Reynolds, Waveney’s principal environmental health officer, said: “This is itself a reflection on the quality of the training and the enthusiasm of the participants, most of whom live and work in the district and just want to live somewhere clean and tidy.
“Probably the most satisfying part is that we have been able to put some power back into the hands of people who live and work here and who care about what our streets and public places look like.”
The scheme has seen volunteers trained to know what details they need to note down when they witness littering.
This can then be sent to the Environmental Health team for consideration for further action.
It was introduced in 2009, and since then the number of fixed penalty notices for littering has soared with 93 in 2009-10, 102 the following year and 152 in 2011-12.
Waveney MP Peter Aldous said that the training of Waveney’s staff had clearly been helping as fewer of his constituents had been contacting him about the problem of rubbish in recent months.
He said: “It does appear to be having an affect. The war on rubbish and litter is always ongoing but this is certainly a move in the right direction.”
Seven household recycling centres in Suffolk were earmarked for closure in May last year as the county council sought to cut £1.45m from its waste services budget – prompting concerns that it might lead to more fly-tipping.
The site at South Lowestoft Industrial Estate was the only one in Waveney retained by the council, although new community-backed sites were established in Beccles and Southwold.
Fixed penalty notices can be given for any littering of no more than one bag of waste, with larger offences take to court for fly-tipping.
But while much work is done on fly-tipping incidents, a number of councils have been tackling the problem of litter across the region.
North Norfolk district council prides itself on being one of the cleanest districts in the region and has in the past three years has seen fixed penalty notices given out for littering rise from 16 to 14 to 29.
John Lee, cabinet member for environmental services, said: “To ensure that North Norfolk stays one of the cleanest districts in the country, the council’s enforcement officers are taking a more pro-active attitude to littering, dog-fouling and fly-tipping, and following good work by those officers and their colleagues we have achieved some excellent results against fly-tippers, particularly.
“We operate on a zero tolerance level and we will not hesitate to prosecute. Members of the public have given us some excellent intelligence, and we thank them for that, and encourage them to keep reporting any incidents of littering. The recent introduction of our ‘I saw this and thought of you’ postcards has helped focus attention on the issue.”
Norwich City Council gave out 11 fixed penalty notices in 2009-10, none in 2010-11 and six in 2011-12, however they gave warning letters to 256 people in that time.
Broadland District Council has given out only four fixed penalty notices for littering in this time, but a spokesman for the council said that earlier this year the district did receive five stars in the Clean Britain Awards, which are judged on levels of litter, chewing gum, fly-tipping, graffiti and the provision and condition of litter bins.
South Norfolk Council gave two for littering between 2009-10, none the following year and one between 2011-12.