Littering and the law
We do not have a legal duty to clean roads and streets at a set frequency. However, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, we have to make sure that roads and open spaces under our control and to which the public have access are free of litter and refuse as far as practicable.
To meet our duty, we focus on the standard of cleanliness rather the frequency of cleaning.
Also, our cleaning programme focuses on those areas which have most pedestrian or vehicle traffic as these are generally the worst affected areas of our district.
However, we do have to balance the resources available to respond to complaints and deal with litter hotspots.
Accumulations of litter on privately owned land are the responsibility of the owner or occupier. We do have powers to make them to keep their land clean should this prove necessary.
Environmental Protection Act 1990, Clean Neighbourhood Act 2005
Householders have certain duties under the law about litter and waste. You must:
- make sure you do not let waste escape from your property or from your control. Littering is an offence for which you could receive a fixed penalty of £100. If you receive a prosecution, a Magistrates Court can issue a fine of up to £2500 under section 87 of Environmental Protection Act 1990
- make sure that your give your to someone who is legally authorised to take it. Every company or person who transports and disposes of waste must, by law, hold a Higher Tier Waste Carriers Licence with the Environment Agency (Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989). If you don’t do this and your waste is subsequently found to have been fly-tipped, under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, you could be liable to a £300 fixed penalty notice or legal action in the Court which has an unlimited fine upon conviction
- not illegally dump (fly-tip) your waste. If you commit a low level fly- tipping offence you can receive a £400 fixed penalty notice. Larger fly-tips or those linked to commercial activities are more likely to result in prosecution. Under section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the maximum penalty on conviction is currently an unlimited fine and up to 5 years’ imprisonment