Private firm set to take over litter enforcement

Litter has been left in many areas across North Somerset. Picture: Emma Harris

Litter has been left in many areas across North Somerset. Picture: Emma Harris - Credit: Archant

A private firm could be handing out fines for littering, dog fouling and fly-tipping in North Somerset by the end of August.

North Somerset Council is ‘upping its game’ after a spike in offences and a recent consultation which revealed an appetite for tougher enforcement.

Officers say they will learn from the mistakes of other authorities which ousted their private teams after just one year.

The 12-month trial will be cost-neutral to the council and there will not be a ‘personal finance incentive to give out as many tickets as possible’.

Updating scrutiny panel members on July 16, Gemma Dando, the assistant director of neighbourhood management, said: “There’s a really strong appetite for more robust enforcement for things like littering, dog fouling and some waste offences.

“We’ve observed in the last six to eight weeks huge spikes in littering – with people coming to the area and having picnics more, we’ve had a real litter problem. We have continual fly-tipping issues as well. We’ve been looking at ways to up our enforcement against some of these offences as there’s a mandate from the public.

“We’re looking at working with an external organisation which will provide enforcement officers. It’s cost neutral to the council and undertaken at the risk of that company.

Most Read

“The money that comes from fines is shared between the company and the council. We’re just checking that the way it’s carried out fits with our corporate values. We don’t want someone coming in and being too draconian.”

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.

Scrutiny panel chairman Councillor Steve Bridger said: “We wouldn’t be heavy-handed. It would be a careful approach with an educational angle.”

Ms Dando added: “We’re training up the seafront rangers to undertake enforcement on Weston seafront and expanding that in other areas.

“We also have some body cams for parking and staff training officers.”