Occupiers of domestic properties in England had a duty to take reasonable care of the waste that they produced (the ‘household duty of care’).
Anyone who failed to comply with the household duty was liable on conviction to an unlimited fine. As an alternative to prosecution, local authorities had the power to issue a fixed penalty notice.
Currently, the fixed penalty amount was set by statute at £200 with no reduction for early payment.
Some members reported that fly-tipping had become more prevalent, particularly the disposal of garden waste on footpaths and questioned the level of resource to uphold the legislation. In response, the Officer advised that fixed penalties could be issued by one member of staff. However, Alliance Environmental Services (AES) staff, which were trained to gather evidence, provided the initial response to reports of inappropriately disposed waste.
The Panel was given the statistical information on the number of investigations carried out over the last 3 years. A spike in the level of fly-tipping had been seen during the first lockdown, which was attributed to the closure of household recycling centres but despite the re-opening, the level of refuse inappropriately disposed of had remained high.
Successful community litter picks were noted by members and it was reported that a prompt service for the collection of rubbish had been received from AES. It was felt that the number of fixed penalty notices issued was low and there was a suggestion for increased promotion of enforcement activity.
1) The Panel recommended that Cabinet sets the fixed penalty amount for failure to comply with the household duty of care at the maximum permitted level of £400;
2) For the number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued over the last few years be circulated to the Panel.