On-the-spot litter fines at Clapham Junction

Published: Monday 13th May 13

Nearly two dozen commuters have been hit with on-the-spot fines for dropping litter on the pavement outside Clapham Junction station.

The waste enforcement team on the lookout for litter bugsTwenty two people were caught red-handed and now have 28 days in which to pay an £80 fixed penalty notice. If they do not pay within this period, they will be summonsed to appear in court where magistrates could impose fines of up to £2,500.   

And to highlight the impact of litter on local neighbourhoods, the council's waste enforcement team, who handed out the fines with assistance from local safer neighbourhoods team, had filled a giant perspex container with all the litter that had been picked up from the area's streets.

The perspex dustbin was full of drinks cans, food wrappers, newspapers, cigarette butts and other general waste that had been dumped on Clapham Junction's pavements. Many passers-by expressed horror that so much waste had been dumped on local streets.

The council picks up nearly 7,000 tonnes of litter from Wandsworth's streets each year. The bill for this clear up costs local council tax payers nearly £4m a year.

In a bid to save residents money, the council has unveiled a raft of new initiatives to try and tackle litter. This includes using a fleet of brand new energy efficient vehicles to clean up the streets.

It is also stepping up enforcement action against individual litter bugs and also against local shops and businesses that try to save money by unlawfully dumping their waste on the highway.

And it is embarking on a new public awareness campaign to bring the message home to the general public that reducing litter will not only improve the borough's environment - it will save money too.

Environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: "What we are trying to do is make sure that Wandsworth's streets remain amongst the cleanest in London.

"We will of course go on picking up all the waste that's deposited on our streets because we take great pride in the borough's appearance, but we also want to get across the huge cost of this task. Picking up litter is costing local taxpayers millions of pounds a year.

"If the litter isn't dropped in the first place then we won't have to spend huge sums clearing it up."

As part of the ongoing campaign, nine people were recently given on-the-spot fines outside Tooting Broadway station, while six local businesses were prosecuted for failing to comply with environmental protection laws that require them to show that they have lawfully disposed of their commercial waste. These included an estate agent, a newsagent, a hairdresser, a take-away and two restaurants.

All six pleaded guilty to breaching the Environmental Protection Act and were ordered to pay fines and court costs totalling £3,661.

The council carries out regular spot checks on commercial premises in the borough to make sure they are complying with waste and litter laws. By law all companies must employ registered contractors to take away their waste and they must retain records and receipts to prove that they have disposed of their waste legally. It is unlawful for shops and businesses to use refuse removal services paid for by taxpayers.

In order to keep town centre streets clean, the council has introduced specific time bands when shops and companies can leave their waste out for collection by their contractors. This is designed to stop pavements being cluttered with unsightly binbags or refuse containers  

Businesses can find full details about their legal responsibilities at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/waste

If people see rubbish being dumped or flytipped, email wasteservices@wandsworth.gov.uk.

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