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 has announced.
Environmental crimes like littering and fly-tipping are “cynical and opportunistic”, the UK government says. In response, it hopes a new upper limit to fines will deter people from harming public spaces and ensure that those who continue to offend face tougher consequences.
With an aim of helping equip councils and “strengthen their arm”, government is laying a statutory instrument increasing the upper limits for various fixed penalty notices (FPNs).
- 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.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We’re taking action right across government to crack down on anti-social behaviour and ensure waste criminals face justice – but it’s vital that communities have the tools they need to address the problem as well.
“That’s why we are supporting local authorities by increasing the upper limit for on-the-spot fines and ringfencing the proceeds for clean-up and enforcement operations.”
A “much tougher approach”
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.
This would see the money paid by criminals go directly back into repairing the damage from their crimes, or into enforcement efforts to prevent similar incidents from happening again.
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.
We’re taking action right across government to crack down on anti-social behaviour and ensure waste criminals face justice – but it’s vital that communities have the tools they need to address the problem as well
The government says it wants councils to take a “much tougher approach” to this type of anti-social behaviour. 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.
Enforcement guidance, as part of the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse, advises on best practice for litter enforcement from local authorities. Government says the guidance “makes clear” that in no circumstances should enforcement activity be considered a means to raise revenue.
It says new powers under the Environment Act 2021 will ensure that enforcement powers are used with a high degree of professionalism, whether by council staff or private contractors, and to place this enforcement guidance on a firm statutory footing.
In 2021/22, councils dealt with almost 1.1 million incidents of fly-tipping and issued 91,000 fines, along with other enforcement actions.
Local authorities will have the freedom to set the rates that offenders should pay, within the limits above.
Today’s announcement marks the latest step in the delivery of the Prime Minister’s Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan and comes during national ASB Awareness Week, run by Resolve and now in its third year, which runs from 3-9 July.
These changes will come into force 21 days after the laying of the Statutory Instrument, on 31 July 2023.