Specialist officers will be tackling littering, flytipping and other environmental offences as part of a crackdown to make the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead a cleaner and safer place to live, work and visit.
From Monday 5 October 2020, authorised officers from District Enforcement, a specialist environmental enforcement company, will be working under the direction of the Royal Borough, to deliver the enforcement service.
They will patrol the streets and public parks, including town centres and environmental hotspots, and will issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to anyone they observe committing or have evidence of committing, an environmental crime.
A fixed penalty notice could be issued for offences such as dropping litter or cigarette waste. Enforcement action can be taken against offences such as flytipping and commercial waste offences.
Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN)
Authorised officers will issue an FPN to anyone they observe, or have evidence to support, has committed an environmental crime that damages the street scene. An FPN gives an offender the opportunity to discharge their liability from being prosecuted by paying the FPN, but should the offender choose not to pay, then court proceedings will be initiated, with the maximum fine for littering being £2,500 and potential conviction at a Magistrates Court.
A fixed penalty notice could be issued if you:
- Cause damage through graffiti or flyposting - graffiti is any writing or drawings scratched, scribbled, sprayed or painted illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public space while flyposting is the putting up of advertising posters in unauthorised places
- Drop litter - including chewing gum, fast food, fast food packaging, left over fruit (for example, apple cores and banana skins) and sweet wrappers.
- Drop cigarette waste - smokers are responsible for ensuring that they completely extinguish their cigarettes before placing them in the bin. Cigarette waste is the same as any other waste in terms of litter laws and you can be issued with an FPN for not disposing of cigarette stubs safely and properly. Care should be taken to avoid any risk of fire and in particular cigarette ends should be completely extinguished before the stub is thrown into the bin.
- Deposit rubbish or flytip any material on the road, pavement, or any other public open space - remember that you must use a licensed waste carrier to dispose of waste not collected by us.
- Fail to use your waste or trade waste containers effectively (including over-filling or if additional side waste is presented by the bin).
- Fail to produce a waste transfer note.
- Fail to produce a waste carriers licence.
- Place your waste or trade waste in a public litter bin.
- Fail to comply with a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for dog control - failing to pick up after the dog you are walking or not disposing of the dog waste in the correct way. It is your responsibility as a dog walker/owner to ensure that you have disposable bags with you.
The following amounts will apply:
- £100 fixed penalty notice for littering reduced to £75 if paid within 14 days.
- £100 fixed penalty notice for dog fouling and other dog control offences, reduced to £75 if paid within 14 days.
- £100 fixed penalty notice for flyposting/graffiti, reduced to £75 if paid within 14 days.
If you refuse to pay the fixed penalty you will be prosecuted for the offence.
You have 14 days to pay the FPN. If you do not have the funds to pay within the 14 day period you can email District Enforcement to explain your circumstances. This will be reviewed and you may be granted a time extension to pay the FPN.
All the contact details will be on the FPN issued and all correspondence will be sent by District Enforcement. Payments are not accepted by instalments but you may be granted an extension.
Appealing an FPN
There are no formal grounds of appeal against an FPN, as it is an invitation to "buy off" your liability to be summonsed to court/prosecution. While this is not an admission of guilt, you agree that an offence has been committed and by paying the sum of money specified no further action will be undertaken by the council. Dealing with it in this manner saves the time for everyone (including the offender) in prosecuting cases at court, and costs associated to FPN’s are a lot lower than any fine imposed by the courts.
If you pick up litter after an officer has approached you, you will still receive an FPN. It is important to realise that the littering offence relates to the dropping of litter and walking away once you have dropped it. So, whether or not you volunteer to pick up your litter afterwards you have committed an offence and will be issued with an FPN.
If you do not agree that you committed the offence for which you received the FPN then the matter will be dealt with through formal prosecution via the courts. It will then be up to the court, on receiving evidence, to determine whether or not an offence was committed and therefore whether or not any penalty should be imposed. Effectively this means that the formal court route becomes the mechanism for those wishing to appeal an FPN.
District Environmental Crime Officers
The company, District Enforcement, provide experienced and professional enforcement officers who work under the direction of the council. They will patrol any area of land that is open to public access and will include areas such as town centres and environmental hotspots. The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has given clear and defined delegated powers, with officers following current legislative guidelines.
All officers operating within the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead have been screened and vetted by DBS in compliance with British Standard 7858:2012, and have received intensive introductory training and ongoing professional development to maintain the high standards required by us.
There is body worn camera footage of every interaction between the officers and members of the public. This is used to protect the public and our officers from being subject to false complaints or intimidation by offenders seeking to avoid paying the penalty issued. The cameras are only switched on at the point the officer introduces him/herself to the offender and it is explained why the camera is in operation.
District Officers are not remunerated against the number of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) they issue. All of the officers are paid an hourly rate and do not receive bonuses.
Any complaints against the officers can be made to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead by using our complaints process. You should be aware that making a complaint is treated separately to the issue of the FPN and as an offence is alleged you remain liable to prosecution unless you choose to pay the FPN within the time specified.
Exemptions in relation to persons to whom the District Environmental Crime Officers cannot issue an FPN to are determined by the council in line with government guidance.
The final decision as to whether an individual is prosecuted lies with the council.
Cost/income for the council
There will be no direct cost to the council. It will be self-financing.
This is not a way for the council to generate additional income. The scheme aims to be cost neutral. Should any additional money be made it will be put into other environmental initiatives which are deemed appropriate. The priority is to try and stop those people who do not behave responsibly.
Signage about littering or dog fouling in the area
The local authority is not required to place signs in every street, road, highway, park or open space to tell people not to litter, or to inform them that litter patrols are operating in the area. Litter legislation has been in force for many years, but as littering and dog fouling has increased significantly in many parts of the country many local authorities are actively issuing FPNs to drive the message home that it is unacceptable to spoil our environment by carelessly discarding their rubbish or failing to remove their dog foul.
As with signage it is not feasible for the council to put litter or dog waste bins in every street, road and highway in the borough, though of course every effort is made to place bins where there are the greatest levels of pedestrian footfall, such as in town centres, shopping areas and parks and open spaces. Dog waste, once bagged can be placed in any of our litter bins. Where bins are not available then it is up to everyone to act responsibly and make arrangements to either take their litter home or carry it until a litter bin is available.
Informing the public
Educational campaigns to address litter have been continual in recent years, with Keep Britain Tidy doing an excellent job in helping us get the anti-littering message across. However, publicity is of no use whatsoever if the message is being ignored. Therefore it is essential that we undertake our enforcement duties as effectively as possible and ensure our patrols take action against those individuals who choose to ignore the littering laws which the vast majority abide by.
- There will be no warnings. You will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for dropping litter, cigarette ends or chewing gum, or for not cleaning up after your dog.
- You are still littering if you drop litter near or around your place of work. This may include rear entrances to shops and restaurants, offices, depots, hospitals and health centres. This also includes local authority buildings.
- You can use bins without ashtrays, extinguish the cigarette first, then place it in the bin.
- No bin does not mean no FPN – not having a bin to hand is not an excuse for littering.
- Placing a cigarette end down a drain is still an offence which will result in an FPN.
- Placing rubbish in a stream is an offence and will result in an FPN.
- The offence is complete once the item is deposited and the person walks away.
Failing to give your name and address is an offence under the Environment Protection Act 1990 Section 88 (8B).