Thousands of fines handed out since littering enforcement outsourced to private company

Dewsbury Town Hall.

Thousands of fines have been handed out for littering in Kirklees over the last few months as the council outsources litter enforcement responsibilities to a private firm.

In April Kirklees Council joined a number of local authorities in outsourcing its litter and dog fouling enforcement to private company Kingdom, which can issue fines for a range of offences including littering and dog fouling.

The year long trial set to conclude in April 2018 to date the firm has issued 2,853 tickets for littering.

Coun Naheed Mather Cabinet Member responsible for enforcement said: “I am pleased that the trial is going so well because littering and other anti-social behaviour affect everyone.

“Not only does dealing with the litter cost the tax payer money but the litter itself makes the area less attractive to live and work in.

“Unfortunately we know that ‘doing the right thing’ is not enough of a driver to encourage behaviour change, so we use enforcement – if the threat of a fine is what it takes to stop people littering then I think it’s worth it.

“My hope for the future is that the number of tickets issued decreases, not because it becomes less efficient, but because people take responsibility and dispose of waste correctly.

“Whilst we have yet to carry out a full evaluation, anecdotal evidence suggests that there has already been a reduction in litter dropped on our streets.

“Our additional success on prosecuting outstanding cases also demonstrates that these charges are serious, and that if you are caught it makes sense to pay up as soon as possible, rather than face a larger fine and additional costs in court.”

A spokeswoman for the council said the majority of people had the fine within the initial period, a small number have gone on to contest the fine or fail to pay it by the deadline, but to date no fines had been rescinded.

The council prosecuted 71 cases on August 1 at Leeds Magistrates Court and all 71 were found guilty of littering, 65 of them were made to pay a £220 fine, £30 victim surcharge and £100 in costs.

The six remaining cases received a lesser fine but were still found guilty.

The council said the scheme does not cost the local authority anything and frees up officer time to concentrate on bigger issues like fly tipping and industrial waste enforcement.

People can be fined for littering including dropping cigarette butts, and dog fouling.

Kirklees is planning find a longer-term partner for the scheme.

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