They’ve offered the public the carrot. Now, here comes the stick, as the council has doubled its on-the-spot fines for littering and fly-tipping.
Croydon’s Labour-run council last month announced plans to revive the free bulk waste collection service for Council Tax-paying residents, in part, at least, to encourage people to work with the council to arrange the collection of rubbish, rather than have to clear-up after them.
And this week, measures were approved to double on-the-spot fines to £150 for litter offences from April 1.
That fine could be applied to someone caught fly-tipping, but might even be imposed on someone dropping a drink can or cigarette stub in the High Street.
The increased fines come as the council has admitted that even with 40 paid staff patrolling the streets and handing out FPNs – Fixed Penalty Notices – with 80-quid fines, it is not enough of a deterrent.
A report to Monday’s council cabinet meeting said, “Despite the council issuing more FPNs than ever before for these offences over the last three years, the borough still experiences high levels of littering and low-level fly-tipping, for which these fines are used. They are therefore not acting as a deterrent to offenders.”
Under the council’s “Don’t Mess With Croydon” war on littering since 2015, there have been more than 180 cases taken to court and successfully prosecuted, even for seemingly minor offences, such as the £700 fine handed down to someone for dropping a cigarette butt. One “prolific fly-tipper” was jailed for 12 months.
In the four years to 2014, under the previous Conservative Town Hall administration, there were no prosecutions at all.
The council’s street patrol team, which is to recruit an additional 20 officers, has been issuing around 850 on-the-spot FPNs each year for littering and fly-tipping offences.
But Monday’s cabinet report was a clear admission that even this no-nonsense policy had failed to improve the public’s dirty habits. Against a national trend that suggests that the British public is getting lazier and more careless about how it disposes of its rubbish, Croydon Council must be hoping that bigger fines will cause litterers to think twice.
Also agreed at the meeting was an increase in the cost of FPNs for fly-posting, from £75 to £100, and for breach of a community protection notice, from £80 to £100.
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