New Fixed Penalty Notice charges will come into force in October as part of Darlington Borough Council’s continued “zero tolerance” approach to environmental crimes, it has been revealed.
In July 2019, a report to the council’s Cabinet outlined the proposals to increase charges for offences such as littering, graffiti and fly-posting (the display of adverts and other promotional materials without permission), as well as adding the Fixed Penalty Notice option for littering from vehicles and fly-tipping.
The report explained that individuals and organisations can be prosecuted through the courts, but councils have the option of issuing Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for an offence. If the fine is paid, they do not have to prosecute.
However, if the FPN is not paid, prosecution will follow. In some cases, such as significant fly-tipping, organised criminal activity or persistent offences, court action would be taken rather than the use of a FPN.
Councillors agreed that the new range of charges should be adopted, with the council’s Civic Enforcement Officers taking on the role of issuing FPNs.
Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Community Safety, said: “Environmental crime such as littering and fly tipping is a problem for towns and cities across the UK and it’s no different here in Darlington.
“We know most people are law abiding citizens and take pride in their area, but a thoughtless minority think nothing of throwing their rubbish onto the streets, which costs the council – and, ultimately local residents – around £1.18m a year to clean up.
Dulston continued: “We have already adopted a ‘zero tolerance’ approach, and by reviewing the charges and extending the range of offences for which FPNs can be issued, we hope to deter those who continue to flout the law. If they do they will be fined.
“Obviously the best way to avoid a fine is not to commit an offence in the first place – take your litter home or put it in a bin and make sure you dispose of any waste responsibly and within the law.”
He added: “We’d also like to remind people that as our Civic Enforcement Officers are Police accredited. It would be an offence not to provide your correct name and address for such offences, or to obstruct them when carrying out their duties.”
At present, dog fouling and other dog-related offences are included in Dog Control Orders. This will be reviewed as part of a proposed Public Space Protection Order later in the year.
The new FPN charges will come into force from Tuesday, October 1st, 2019, with discounts offered in most cases if paid within seven days.
You can find further details about the new Fixed Penalty Notice charges on the Darlington Borough Council website.
Source: Darlington Borough Council