Over 1,000 fined for enviro crimes
More than 1,000 people have been fined for enviro-crimes such as littering and dog fouling in the last year, shocking new statistics have revealed.
A total of 1,080 fixed penalty notices were issued for offences in the Mansfield district between 1st April 2007 and 31st March 2008 – almost all by Mansfield District Council's neighbourhood wardens and enviro-crime officers.
The fixed penalty fines – ranging from £50 to £75 – have been issued as follows:
- Littering – 841 fixed penalties issued
- Dog fouling – 136 fixed penalties issued
- Fly posting – 60 fixed penalties issued
- Graffiti – 31 fixed penalties issued
- Leaving a bin on the street – 6 fixed penalties issued
- Smoking in a designated non-smoking area – 4 fixed penalties issued
- Repairing / selling vehicles at a roadside – 2 fixed penalties issued
Littering was the most common offence with 841 of the £75 fixed penalties dished out, up from 187 last year. Throwing litter from a vehicle is the most common form of offence with 189 fixed penalty fines issued to motorists in the last 12 months.
More than 30 fixed penalty notices were given to graffiti vandals during 2007/08 – six times more than in the previous year. In 2006/07 only 42 fixed penalties were issued for graffiti in the whole country.
Nearly 200 dog owners were hit with fixed penalty fines for not clearing up after their pets after they've fouled pavements and parks. Prior to 2007/08, dog fouling offences were dealt with through lengthy and costly court action, with just a handful of dog owners prosecuted each year.
All monies raised from fines go directly back into other enforcement or environmental initiatives in the Mansfield district. But the proceeds from fixed penalties is a fraction of the near £1.5million it costs Mansfield District Council and the local taxpayer to clean the streets every year.
Coun Danny McCrossan, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection at Mansfield District Council said, "It's shocking to think that on average three people in the Mansfield district are caught committing an enviro-crime every single day. Instead of throwing their litter in a bin they are throwing their money away.
"Whilst I am pleased that people are being rightfully penalised for committing these offences, I am disappointed that so many people continue to act anti-socially and show a lack of respect for our area.
"Although there has been a large increase in fines for all types of enviro crime, it doesn't necessarily mean that the situation is getting worse. What is certain is that the Council is continually getting better at catching the culprits. The chances of avoiding being caught are diminishing all the time – but the best way to avoid a fine is not to commit the offence in the first place."
Mansfield District Council operates a number of unique initiatives aimed at encouraging respect for the local environment, including:
- The 'Shop a dropper' initiative which encourages more than 1,000 council employees to report incidents of littering from vehicles.
- 'Restorative justice' is used as an alternative to fixed penalty fines for young people. Under the scheme, children aged under-16 can work off their fine by taking part in organised litter picks or graffiti clearance.
- Wardens have issued 1000s of 'thank you' cards to dog owners they see cleaning up after their pets and people they see putting their litter in a bin.