Please find below my analysis of the document. This page will be developed gradually over the next few days or so. Selected extracts from the document will be in mauve.
Duty to keep land and highways clear of litter etc.
The document makes no reference to the Section 89 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 duty under which councils and Highways England are required to ensure, so far as is practicable, that they keep their land and highways clear of litter and refuse.
If it had done so the authors would have been obliged to say whether they were complying with with it, and if not, why not.
This is of course exactly what they should have been doing. If a plane crashes you do no tinker with the design. You find out why it crashed in the first place and then redesign it.
Fixed Penalty Notices for littering
…. we have also published a consultation document which seeks views on whether the fines for littering and related offences should be increased.
My understanding is that an increase may lead to lower payment levels and more prosecutions as a result. It is not a win-win situation. What is needed instead is:
- An order of magnitude increase in the number of fines issued to be achieved by
- the use of plain-clothed enforcement officers who are
- encouraged to focus on hot-spots where litter is frequently deposited enabling them
- to operate with a vastly higher level of productivity than the highly visibilbe uniformed patrols currently in use. This will lead to
- significant surpluses for councils to be used on more litter picking thus creating a virtuous circle.
- However to work properly (and at a lower cost) we need to introduce of a civil law option so that fines could be issued to juveniles. Most councils refrain from issuing FPNs to young people because prosecuting them for non-payment would mean their getting a criminal record for what might be dropping a packet of crisps.
Where councils choose to use a third-party enforcement service, they should avoid an approach based on arbitrary targets for the number of fines issued..,
I would be in favour of the officers employed by the contractors to be incentivised to encourage high productivity /high reward regime with strict standards and quality controls.
.. we also propose that arrangements which allowed the majority of councils to use the income from fixed penalties for environmental offences for “any of their functions” be extended to all councils.
… that fixed penalties should only be issued when it is in the public interest to do so, and when it is proportionate to do so. Our policy is clear that under no circumstances should councils view the use of fixed penalties for these offences as a means to generate income.
These last two statements seem to be contradictory. If you use the income (the surplus after covering direct costs) for any function then you have to generate it in the first place.