Environmental FAQs

They are delegated from the local authorities we work for with clearly defined parameters of authority. Our officers will enforce all legislation in accordance to the law and in line with the enforcement policy of the local authority.

Yes. All our officers are screened and vetted by DBS in compliance with British Standard 7858:2012.

This is set out in either a contract or service level agreement with each council and is signed off by both parties prior to any patrol deployment.

No. All of our Officers are paid an hourly rate and do not receive bonuses.

Yes. These exemptions are determined by the enforcement policy of the local authority and normally include members of the public with proven physical and mental disabilities. Additionally, some local authorities include additional exemptions such as children and elderly members of the community.

These are used to protect the public and our Officers from being subject to spurious complaints or intimidation by offenders seeking to avoid paying the penalty issued. The cameras are only switched on at the point the Officer introduces him/herself to the offender and it is explained why the camera is in operation. The camera is turned on during the conversation only, this can then either be served as evidence or unused material dependent upon the prosecution policy of the local authority.

The decision always lies with the local authority.

Our Environmental Crime Officers are specialists in their field. They receive intensive introductory training and ongoing professional development to maintain the high standards required by the local authorities they serve. There is Body Worn Camera footage of every interaction between our Officers and members of the public. Any complaints against our Officers can be made to local authorities and are handled in line with established procedures

Since the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 became law, new measures have been introduced, enabling local authorities to issue a FPN to anyone they have reason to believe committed an environmental crime that damages the street scene. A FPN gives an alleged offender the opportunity of discharging their liability from being prosecuted by paying the FPN. If an offender is prosecuted the maximum fine for littering can be up to a maximum of £2,500 and may be faced with a conviction.

The amount is set by the Local Authority using the current guidelines for penalty notice levels.

There are no formal grounds of appeal against a Fixed Penalty Notice. This is because a Fixed Penalty Notice is an invitation for you to effectively 'buy off' your liability to prosecution. This means that while this is not an admission of guilt, you agree that an offence has been committed and that by paying the sum of money specified no further action will be undertaken by the council. This method of dealing with offences not only saves the time involved for everyone (including the offender) in prosecuting cases at court, but the cost associated with a Fixed Penalty Notice is likely to be substantially lower than any fine imposed by the courts. For example, the maximum fine which can be imposed by the courts for littering is £2,500.

If you do not agree that you committed the offence for which you received the Fixed Penalty Notice then the matter will be dealt with through formal prosecution via the courts. It will then be up to the court, on receiving evidence, to determine whether or not an offence was committed and therefore whether or not any penalty should be imposed. Effectively this means that the formal court route becomes the mechanism for those wishing to appeal a Fixed Penalty Notice. It should be noted that the financial penalty imposed by the courts can be significantly more than that which is imposed through a Fixed Penalty Notice.

The local authority is not required to place signs in every street, road, highway, park or open space to tell people not to litter or to inform them that litter patrols are operating in the area. Litter legislation has been in force for many years and littering in many parts of the UK is at such levels that councils across the country are now actively issuing FPNs in order to drive the message home to those who spoil our towns and cities by carelessly discarding their rubbish.

Usually the Council will notify the public via media campaigns however, the legal position is that ignorance is no excuse

As with signage it is not feasible for the council to put litter bins in every street, road and highway in the borough, though of course every effort is made to place bins where they are most needed and where there are the greatest levels of pedestrian footfall, such as in town centres, major shopping areas and Parks and open spaces. Dog poo, once bagged can be placed in any litter bin in the borough. Where bins are not available then it is up to everyone to act responsibly and make arrangements to either take their litter home or carry it until a litter bin is available.

Wrong. Litter includes not only cigarette butts but also chewing gum. In many ways these items are more of a nuisance and more expensive to clean up than other items of rubbish.

Smokers are responsible for ensuring that they completely extinguish their cigarettes before placing them in the bin. Cigarette waste is the same as any other waste in terms of litter laws and you can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for not disposing of cigarette stubs properly. Obviously, care should be taken to avoid any risk of fire and in particular cigarette ends should be completely extinguished before the stub is thrown into the bin. There is also no reason why smokers (who are well aware that their habit means that they will be faced with disposing of their cigarette waste) cannot carry portable 'butt bins' with them or create their own by placing some soil or sand in a small tin.

Your education campaign in terms of the litter problem has been continual in recent years. Thousands of pounds of your money has been spent on publicity involving posters, advertising, articles in the press. On top of this, organisations like Keep Britain Tidy do an excellent job in helping us get the anti-littering message across. Of course all the publicity in the world is of no use whatsoever if the message is being ignored. So we must take our enforcement duties seriously as well and back up what is a serious and important message with real action. This is the aim of our enforcement patrols which seek to target those who choose to ignore the littering laws which the vast majority abide by.

You can write into the Local Authority to explain your circumstances, this will be reviewed and you may be granted a time extension to pay the Fixed Penalty Notice. All the correspondence details will be on the FPN issued and all correspondence sent by the local authority.

The Officers are tasked to areas of highest demand and will patrol wherever there is evidence of littering. It has been shown that Town Centres are hotspot areas and cigarette butts are the most common litter issue.


  • There will be no warnings, you will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for dropping litter, cigarette ends or chewing up. Also for not cleaning up after your dog.
  • That you can use bins without ashtrays, extinguish the cigarette first, then place it in the bin.
  • No bin doesn't mean no FPN - not having a bin to hand is not an excuse for littering.
  • Placing a cigarette end down a drain is still an offence which will result in a Fixed Penalty Notice.
  • Placing rubbish in a stream is an offence and will result in a Fixed Penalty Notice
  • The offence is complete once the item is deposited and the person walks away.
  • Failing to give your name and address is an offence under the Environment Protection Act 1990 Section 88 (8B)

You will be prosecuted for the offence.