Private company could enforce fines for littering, fly tipping and dog fouling

Rubbish on Weston beach. Picture: Molly Williams

Rubbish on Weston beach. Picture: Molly Williams - Credit: Archant

A private company could be drafted in to fine people for littering, fly tipping and dog fouling in North Somerset.

North Somerset councillor Bridget Petty. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

North Somerset councillor Bridget Petty. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

Posters have been put up and bigger bins installed, but councillor Bridget Petty said people had been calling out for tougher action.

She said North Somerset Council would learn from the mistakes of other authorities as some have brought in firms that pick on easy targets, such as discarded cigarette butts.

Speaking during a Facebook Live video last week, councillor Petty, the executive member for the climate emergency and the environment, said: “If people choose to break the law, they probably should be fined. We need to look seriously at how we make that happen.

“Some people might not like it but right now everyone is suffering from the litter being left. We’re putting up some additional signs – hopefully, it feels like a bolder statement.

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“We really want to see a positive change and might have to take some more significant action.”

Cllr Petty said littering had got worse since the lockdown but the issue is not new.

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A consultation launched before the coronavirus crisis showed 90 per cent of respondents wanted the council to issue more fines for dog fouling and fly tipping, and 77 per cent wanted tougher action on littering.

She added: “The community are unhappy with people disregarding the rules.

“The litter in our sea, watercourses and rural environment is also awful for the wildlife and the planet.”

Cllr Petty said if the council brought in a company it would sign a contract with strict terms on what it would allow.

People can already be issued £75 fines for littering, dog fouling and antisocial behaviour and other breaches of a public space protection order that covers the whole of North Somerset.

She added: “Most councils go in with the best of intentions. I can reach out and ask their experience, what not to do. I’m open to learning lessons from neighbouring authorities.

“We wouldn’t launch anything unless we were happy with it, and might consider it as a trial.

“We don’t want this to be something we have to have forever. We want to solve this so we don’t have a problem in the future.”

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