Council partnership aims to crack down on litter

A new council partnership that aims to crack down on litter and dog fouling in the Chichester District will begin in November.

Litter Enforcement Officers from East Hampshire District Council will be patrolling the district from 1 November as part of a trial scheme to reduce litter and dog fouling.

Those caught dropping litter will receive an on-the-spot fine of £75, and this reduces to £50 if it is paid within 14 days. Those who do not clear up their dog's mess will receive an on-the-spot fine of £100, with this reducing to £75 if it is paid within 14 days.

If the fines are not paid and a case goes to court, the maximum penalty for littering is £2,500 and £1,000 for dog fouling.

Councillors at Chichester District Council have pledged to crack down on litter, fly tipping and dog fouling in response to an increase in incidents and concern from local residents.

"Litter, fly tipping and dog fouling all have a negative impact on our beautiful area and the public expect us to do something about it," says Councillor Roger Barrow, Cabinet Member for Contract Services at Chichester District Council.

"As councillors, we regularly receive emails and phone calls from residents who are fed up of littering, dog fouling and fly tipping. We know that many people want to see tougher action against those who deliberately litter our district so, as well as continuing with enforcement action against fly tippers, we will be teaming up with East Hampshire District Council to take part in a litter enforcement trial, which will begin on 1 November. This is something that East Hampshire, Havant, and Arun District Councils have already introduced with great success.

"The trial will involve litter enforcement officers monitoring the city, towns, villages, parks and the seafront and fining those who are seen dropping litter or not clearing up their dog's mess. It has already had a very positive impact in our neighbouring district areas and it is hoped that it will now send a strong message to the small minority of people who continue to ruin the local environment.

"We want to stress that this is not about money. The fines are not intended to provide income for the council; they will just pay for the service. We will also be using a Local Authority company whose officers are fully trained and follow a different approach to the private services that have been used by other councils elsewhere in the country," adds Roger.

"Currently, we spend more than £1 million a year on clearing litter and fly tipping, but if people didn't drop or dump rubbish, we could spend a proportion of this money on other essential services. We've also seen an increase in littering on our roads and coastline, the number of fly tips reported, and the amount of hazardous waste we have had to remove. It's clear that we have to act.

"We want to prick the public conscience and develop a strong anti-litter culture in the district so that it becomes completely unacceptable to drop litter of any kind or dump rubbish. This is a concentrated effort and will involve a number of different methods. We want to engage with local communities and empower them to take positive, preventative action, as well as encouraging local businesses to get involved."

Other projects will encourage local businesses and communities to adopt an area to increase pride in their local surroundings, alongside local campaigns and community clean up days.

Remote cameras are also being used in fly tipping hotspots to catch offenders as part of a West Sussex Partnership project to crack down on fly tipping. The council dealt with almost 1000 cases last year and has pledged to continue to prosecute anyone caught fly tipping.

Finally, the council intends to improve its bin facilities and signage. This will include increasing awareness that if there isn't a red dog bin around that dog bags can be placed in any litter bin- and the importance of not dropping cigarette ends.

"By working together we can all make a difference to ensure our district remains beautiful for everyone who lives and visits here," Roger adds.