Clampdown on litter and waste to create cleaner Birmingham streets

Birmingham City Council - Image from Google Street View

Birmingham City Council – Image from Google Street View

Nearly 5,000 people and businesses were caught fly-tipping, dropping litter or failing to dispose of rubbish responsibly last year as a result of initiatives to make Birmingham’s streets cleaner.

New figures, published in the Regulation and Enforcement Services Annual Report for 2014/15, show that Birmingham City Council’s environmental health officers received 8,909 complaints regarding waste.

In addition, officers working within the Waste Enforcement Unit – set up in October 2014 – discovered a further 2,500 related incidents, and as a result 1,627 enforcement actions and investigations relating to rubbish, fly-tipping and advancement of waste (putting domestic rubbish out for collection too early) were carried out.

Last year, the council spent more than £565,000 on litter enforcement – including the number of litter patrols, prosecution costs and staff salaries: Of those costs £229,310 was incurred by increasing the number of litter patrols and enforcement activity across the city.

The report, presented to the council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee today (17 June), also states:

  • A total of 4,985 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were issued by environmental health officers – a 251 per cent increase on the number issued in 2013/14 (1,984 FPNs).
  • 4,706 of these were issued for littering offences, however 368 individuals were prosecuted for refusing to pay – upon conviction they were fined, on average, £177.
  • The remaining FPNs were issued to firms and households that put out their rubbish too early for collection, takeaway businesses in relation to litter, dog control offences and breaches of Smoke Free legislation.
  • The Waste Enforcement Unit, which tackles fly-tipping and uncontrolled waste across the city, conducted 152 investigations into dumped commercial waste.
  • 336 duty of care statutory notices were issued, which require businesses to provide details on their waste disposal arrangements, and 57 fixed penalty notices (£300 fines) were issued to firms that failed to do so.
  • 233 notices were issued under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act, requiring the removal of rubbish that is likely to harbour rats.
  • Officers surveyed 700 fast food and takeaway businesses to promote a voluntary agreement to proactively tackle takeaway-related litter: 220 businesses (31 per cent) signed up to a voluntary agreement.
  • Cllr Barbara Dring, who chairs the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Any litter or rubbish dumped on the streets is blight on our city and those responsible clearly have no pride in where they live.

“All of these offences are avoidable, as litter bins can be easily used and it takes just a little forethought to dispose of rubbish responsibly. Where waste is dumped it becomes the land owner’s responsibility to clear it up.

“Environmental health officers and our dedicated Waste Enforcement Unit are working with local businesses and communities to create a better understanding of how their rubbish should be disposed of and are actively tackling fly-tipping.

“We need to love and respect our neighbourhoods and it’s disappointing to see rubbish being dumped on our streets. Keeping Birmingham’s streets clean is everyone’s responsibility so we will continue to clamp down on litter bugs, targeting areas where there is a persistent problem.

“The number of fixed penalty notices issued and criminal prosecutions brought by the council shows that we will not tolerate actions by thoughtless individuals who think dropping litter or dumping waste is acceptable – it is not.”