Litter louts face fines

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Drop litter and you could be instantly £75 out of pocket - that’s the warning from Fenland Council this week.

Anyone caught in the act of littering is likely to be hit with a hefty fine as Fenland District Council steps up its “Tidy Fenland” campaign.

Council officers will be patrolling the streets and open spaces in all four market towns over the next two weeks, ready to punish any litterbugs with instant fixed penalty notices of up to £75.

The enforcement move is the latest stage in the campaign, which was launched earlier this year.

Until now it has concentrated on raising people’s awareness of the problem and drawing attention to the costs of clearing up.

Every kind of throwaway rubbish is being targeted, with a particular focus on “food on the go” litter, such as takeaway cartons and sweet wrappers, and cigarette butts, which are the most widespread problem.

Councillor Peter Murphy, Fenland’s portfolio holder responsible for the environment, said: “Eight out of 10 people don’t drop litter but we all suffer from the thoughtless minority who do. It’s not just the fact that they create a horrible mess which spoils our towns and villages; it’s also that it costs us £1,000 a day to clear it all up. That money could be much better spent on other things.

“So we’re asking everyone to take a pride in their local environment and to either put their litter in a bin or take it home with them.

“And we’re warning those who just chuck it on the ground that they’re liable to be hit in the pocket with a £75 penalty.”

Fenland Council has been working with town councils and local communities to identify the main problem areas. The Chambers of Commerce are also involved, as are the various Street Pride groups, and many local businesses have signed up to a voluntary code of practice supporting the campaign’s aims.