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According to Keep Britain Tidy over 25% of people admit to dropping litter.
Around the country, litter-filled streets are spoiling communities and food litter in the UK has increased yearly in the last decade.
Litter is anything that is discarded that defaces a public place. It could be small like a cigarette end or bus ticket, large such as a box, or even hazardous like a syringe.
Any type of litter takes a long time to disappear naturally. According to Keep Britain Tidy the estimated timespan for items to degrade is:
- Cigarette Butts: up to 12 years
- Paper Bags: up to 1 month
- Orange peel / banana skin / apple cores: up to 2 years
- Plastic bags: 10 to 20 years
- Glass Bottles and chewing gum: Not biodegradable
- Plastic bottles: up to 50 years
Every day we clear town centre streets and shop fronts of litter.
More on Street Cleaning »
£100 Fixed Penalty Notice
If you are seen to drop litter on the street we will, under the Environmental Protection Act of 1990, issue you with a £100 fixed penalty notice (reduced to £75 if paid within 10 days).
If your litter is seen to have been deposited from a vehicle we will under the Littering from Vehicles Outside London (Keeper; Civil Penalties) Regulations 2018 issue the registered keeper of that vehicle with a £75 Penalty Notice. (For further information please see our littering from vehicle webpage Littering from vehicles)
The worst offenders on our streets are Cigarette Butts, Chewing Gum and Dog Mess and we urge residents to help stamp out these problems.
Smoking Related Waste
- Contrary to popular belief, smoking-related waste is litter.
- If you stub out your cigarette (or cigar or roll-up) in a public place and do not pick up the butt, you are committing a criminal offence by littering.
- It's the same if you flick the butt out of the car window or simply drop it on the pavement after you have finished smoking.
- There are still too many people who may, these days, think twice about dropping a drinks can or takeaway carton on the floor, but still think it is acceptable to flick butts out of the car window.
- Smoking-related waste is litter and we have zero tolerance for it.
How are we dealing with smoking-related waste?
Under the 1990 Environmental Protection Act, it is an offence to cause littering. There are many legal definitions of litter but, generally, it is waste that has been unlawfully abandoned or scattered in a public place.
Those who drop their cigarette butts or throw them from cars will be have enforcement action taken against them in exactly the same way as those who refuse to use litter bins or dog-waste bins.
If you are seen to drop litter we will, under the Environmental Protection Act of 1990, issue you with a £100 fixed penalty notice, reduced to £75 of paid within 10 days.
Chewing Gum Waste
Save Your Sole - or you could be fined up to £100 if you do not Bin Your Gum!
Chewing gum is a very difficult type of litter to deal with, because it is so sticky and is very difficult to clean.
Normal cleaning methods like street sweeping and litter picking do not work, we have to resort to more extreme methods like jet washing to remove it.
This can cost a lot of money - Keep Britain Tidy reports that it can cost up to £1.50 per square meter to clean up chewing gum. This is money that could be spent on key front line services.
- Discarded chewing gum is a major, and growing, problem, especially in town centre areas.
- Blobs of gum on the street can make an area look dirty, even when it’s clean.
Chewing Gum Facts
- On average, a piece of chewing gum costs about 3 pence, but the cost of removal is about 10 pence per piece.
- Chewing gum takes up to 5 years to biodegrade.
- Some countries are considering putting a tax on gum to help pay for the clean-up costs
- In Singapore, chewing gum is banned unless you have a prescription from your doctor or dentist.
- 80-90% of chewing gum is not disposed of in any litter receptacle.
- Modern day based chewing gum was an accidental invention. Thomas Adams, a New York inventor, was trying to make a material for car tyres. Today’s gum is made from the similar synthetic rubbers – hence it’s non-biodegradable.
- In April 2006, discarded chewing gum was defined as litter for the first time under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act. Gum droppers can be subjected to an on-the-spot fine of up to £100.
The removal of chewing gum is a time-consuming and costly exercise.
If you chew gum, please ensure that you put it in a bin. If there is no bin available, wrap it in a piece of paper and wait until you do find a bin. |
Why is Litter such an important issue?
We are proud of our environment and are determined to crack down on the problem of littering and Dog Fouling once and for all.
As well as continuing our work to protect the outside environment for the benefit of all, which includes teams of staff working almost daily to pick up and clear the litter dropped by others, we will also educate and enforce.
We are working with schools, community groups and residents to remind them of the law, why it is important not to litter and the part they can play in protecting the environment.
Running alongside that is a zero-tolerance enforcement campaign, which means those who cause littering by dropping litter or allowing their dog to foul in a public place will, where possible, be identified, fined and even prosecuted.
We have teams of officers who have the training and accreditation to deal with those who break the law – if you drop any litter on the floor or throw it from your car, you will face a fine or potentially prosecution!
What if I drop litter in a public place?
Under the Environment Protection Act 1990 if you drop or abandon litter in a public place you have committed the offence of dropping and leaving litter, and therefore in line with our zero tolerance policy you will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100 for the offence (reduced to £75 if paid within 10 days). Should you have been caught littering before in our district you may not be offered another Fixed Penalty Notice and may be prosecuted.
Who is liable for the fine?
Under the regulations anyone over the age of 10 years old who drops litter is eligible to receive a fine.
Where can I get fined?
If you drop litter in any open-air public place in the district then you will be liable to be served with a fixed penalty of up to £100. In order to make sure that you do not become liable for a fine, always place your litter in a nearby litterbin. If there is no litterbin around, then you must take the litter home with you and dispose of it correctly.
Pay your penalty notice online »
Alternatively see other ways to pay
What if I don’t pay my penalty notice?
If you have been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice by one of the Council's Litter Enforcement Officers then under the terms of the fine you will be required to pay the charge within 14 days from the date the notice was issued.
Should you choose not to pay the fine within the 14 days we will look to prosecute via Court proceedings as part of the our policy to improve the environment and to reduce such crime within the district of Dover.
If you have been issued with a penalty notice for littering from a vehicle please see our littering from vehicle webpage
Littering from vehicles
Is feeding birds considered as littering?
Whilst we discourage the feeding of birds, we do not consider this to be a littering offence and would not ordinarily take enforcement action in such cases. In general the problems are mainly caused by feral pigeons and seagulls. More details on our approach regarding these birds is available at the links below