Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A Litter Bit of Information

Great Britain has some very tough anti-litter and fly-tipping laws. The trouble is that despite these tough laws the litter problem continues to grow, and it shows little sign of relenting. Yet anyone that drops litter in a public place is committing a crime. Most people are very aware that littering is a crime and if caught individuals can be fined. The fine is typically between £50 - £80, and if not paid a magistrates’ court can impose a further fine of up to £2,500.

However, Fly-tipping is the "illegal deposit of any waste onto land or a highway that has no licence to accept it." Illegal dumps of waste can vary in scale and the type of waste involved. 

I am aware of one instance where items that should be disposed of under licence have been fly tipped into Biffa containers on a CART marina. The Biffa driver on the day contacted his company before he removed the offending items from the container. The fly tipper returned to put the material into an empty Biffa container in the same compound and then disguise by placing normal waste material on top. 

The matter has been raised with CART who have so far chosen to ignore the problem and it has now fallen onto boaters in the marina to raise the issue with the local council. What is needed is a serious commitment from organisations such as CART to pursue in law such incidents rather than apparently standing back and allowing it to happen.

Fly Tipping is set out in Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which says it is an offence to treat, keep or dispose of controlled waste without a waste management licence or in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health.

Because of the problem of turning a blind eye to such issues is not uncommon. Section 89 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a legal duty on certain organisations responsible for public land to keep land under their remit clear of litter. 

Section 91 of the EPA goes on to state that a person who is fed up with a long-standing litter or fly tipping problem can use a Litter Abatement Order against those organisations listed under Section 89 (called the 'duty bodies') if they are failing in their duty to keep the land clean.

The boaters do have redress in the form of a Litter Abatement Order. Which can be used by any member of the public to improve the cleanliness of their local environment. A Litter Abatement Order allows any person to serve a notice (via a Magistrates' Court) to get long standing litter and fly tipping problems cleared up. 

Section 89 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a legal responsibility (called a 'duty') on certain organisations to ensure that land is kept clear of litter. (Section "G" the occupier of any relevant land within a litter control area of a local authority.)

Designated statutory undertakers:These include persons authorised to operate transport related infrastructure, such  as: railways, light railways, tramways, road transport (other than taxi or hire cars), canals, inland waterways, docks, ports, harbours, piers and airports. 

The Government’s Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse: Outlines to the above duty bodies what constitutes a litter problem. It also gives maximum response times for clearing up the litter problem once it has been reported.


Campaign to Protect Rural EnglandWe campaign for a beautiful and living countryside. We work to protect, promote and enhance our towns and countryside to make them better places to live, work and enjoy, and to ensure the countryside is protected for now and future generations.

Guide to obtaining a Litter Abatement Order PDF document.

Litter Action encourage individuals and volunteer groups to take action against litter in any way they can. What is needed is support in their efforts from local councils as well as strict law enforcement to reinforce the community desire for a clean and tidy environment.

Keep Britain Tidy. There are lots of guides and resources on the KBT website which thoroughly explain both the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

The Big Tidy UpWe run a number of programmes and campaigns designed to improve the local environment and reduce associated anti-social behaviour. (Noted for their work on graffiti

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