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Poole launches crackdown on littering
1:00pm Friday 14th September 2012 in Latest
Litter-strewn streets are a blight on any town but how far should Poole go in cracking down on the problem?
“Littering of streets and open spaces can be an emotive issue, and there is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that residents of Poole would like the council to take firm action against the perpetrators, including the issue of Fixed Penalty Notices and prosecutions,” said Shaun Robson, head of environmental and consumer protection services in a report.
Borough of Poole’s environmental and scrutiny committee is recommending that informal consultation takes place to see how residents feel about engaging a private enforcement company to carry out litter patrols.
“There has been concern for some time about the level of enforcement of littering and dog fouling in Poole,” said Cllr Tony Trent, chairman of the committee.
“There are companies out there that offer the service free of charge to local councils but on the proviso that they keep any fines that they levy.
“A number of councillors, including myself, feel uncomfortable that this could lead to contractors chasing the easy targets and acting unreasonably – as has been the case with some wheel clamping firms.”
Fixed penalty notices issued for littering in the town are low, 42 since July 2010, with a fine of £75, reduced to £50 if paid in seven days. Currently the council spends £2million a year cleaning the streets.
A private environmental enforcement company could be engaged at no direct cost to the council, covering its costs by issuing fines.
The council anticipates that 400 fines per month would be issued, a substantial proportion of which would be to 18-35s who discard cigarette butts.
Many complaints of littering relate to groups of youngsters at beaches, parks, the bus station and open spaces and education about disposing of it appropriately could be of more value.
If enforcement was undertaken there could be around 50 prosecutions per month, which would need special magistrates courts sessions.
John Sprackling, chairman of Branksome Park, Canford Cliffs and District Residents Association welcomed the idea.
“As long as it’s self-funding it sounds like a good idea,” he said. “I would be concerned if there was a cost to the council.
“Something needs to be done about it. The scheme should be run for a trial period.”
However Fred Winwood, chairman of Hamside Residents Association said: “My concern over private company enforcement is that it won’t be abused in the same manner wheel clamping was abused.
“If they can carry out the operation and make a profit out of it, the council ought to be able to do it more efficiently.”