Members of the public are becoming increasingly angry with Causeway Coast and Glens Council’s new litter crackdown policy, less than a month into the pilot scheme with waste enforcement company Waste Investigations Support & Enforcement (WISE).
Despite initial support for the scheme, people are becoming more annoyed as an increasing number of fines are being handed out in supermarket car parks, housing estates and privately owned land.
The Jet Centre, Coleraine went to the lengths of warning its customers on social media saying: ‘Council litter initiative** You may be aware that Causeway Coast and Glens Council have a litter initiative underway in the borough and are out and about issuing fixed penalty notices to anyone who litters. They have the authority to do this even in car parks on private property. We are told that officials will be in uniform and will have ID to prove who they are. They will issue a ticket and will not request payment on the spot.’
Members of the public have also had their car registrations taken by enforcement officers in order to issue fines for littering or the disposal of cigarette butts and other tobacco products.
A town centre employee who was recently fined on privately owned land was informed by a WISE official they were legally entitled to do so unless the landlord, property owner or management team wrote to the company denying them permission to issue fines on their property.
A council spokesperson confirmed this was correct saying: ‘Council can confirm that under the Litter (NI) Order 1994, offenders can be fined for dropping litter in private property. An extract of the legislation is included below.
‘Under the Litter (NI) Order 1994, it is stated that if any person throws down, drops or otherwise deposits in, into or from any place open to the air, and leaves, anything whatsoever in such circumstances as to cause, or contribute to, or tend to lead to, the defacement by litter of any such place, he shall, subject to paragraph (2), be guilty of an offence.
‘In paragraph 2, it is stated that it shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under paragraph (1) to prove that the depositing and leaving of the thing was—
(a)authorised by law, or
(b)done with the consent of the owner or other person or authority having control of the place in or into which that thing was deposited.
‘Where officers detect persons depositing litter from a vehicle, we will follow up our normal procedures to access keeper information in order that the matter is investigated.’
The enforcement officers can issue £80 fixed penalty notices to anyone found to be dropping litter, tobacco products, fly tipping or not cleaning up after their dog. In the first week of operation 308 fines were handed to the members of the public.