Litterbugs pay the penalty

Two people have paid the penalty for littering offences in the centre of Southampton as part of a clampdown by the city council

Enforcement Officers on patrol

The new Environmental Enforcement Service, with powers to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for littering, has been deterring people who drop litter by issuing £75 fixed penalty notices since June last year. These are issued when people are found leaving litter in a public place and are reduced to £55 if paid within 10 days.

Littering is a crime and if the fixed penalty notice isn’t paid the matter will be pursued at a Magistrates’ Court.

On 18 May, two offenders were fined £100 plus costs and a victim surcharge following a hearing at West Hampshire Magistrates’ Court. One person was found to have dropped a cigarette butt in Above Bar precinct on 14 October 2020, while the other was also found to have dropped a cigarette butt in Above Bar precinct on 21 December 2020. Both cases came to court after the council pursued the individuals for non-payment of fixed penalty notices.

Cigarette butts form a substantial part of the litter cleared from our streets. They are produced from materials which do not decompose easily and persist in the environment. Dropped cigarette butts are litter, just like food packaging and other waste items.

Councillor Spiros Vassiliou, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture & Heritage, said: “As the weather improves and people spend more time outside, we want people to enjoy the city and take responsibility for disposing of their litter. While the vast majority do so without hesitation, we’re determined to clamp down on the irresponsible actions of a minority who show no consideration for others. This court case shows that we will take action where necessary to ensure all residents can enjoy a tidy and clean city.”