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Councils to get litter-blitzing power

PUBLISHED: 00:10 06 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:15 24 February 2010

WAVENEY MP Bob Blizzard's proposal that local authorities be allowed to keep the money from fixed-penalty litter offences is set to become law after being included in the Government's own bill currently going through Parliament.

WAVENEY MP Bob Blizzard's proposal that local authorities be allowed to keep the money from fixed-penalty litter offences is set to become law after being included in the Government's own bill currently going through Parliament.

Mr Blizzard, who first tried to introduce a similar bill in 2001, recently won the support of the House of Commons to gain a first reading for a second, identical bill.

The bill proposes that councils be allowed to retain the revenue from £50 fixed penalty fines for litter and dog fouling offences, to use to employ litter wardens.

Litter and dog-fouling laws have been in place since 1990 and 1996 but are rarely enforced at the moment, said the Labour MP.

The Government has included the measure in its own Local Government Bill, which will become law later this year when it has completed all its parliamentary stages.

Mr Blizzard met with Environment Minister Alun(crrct) Michael this week to discuss how to ensure that councils actually use the new power they will be given.

A new "best-value indicator on cleanliness" aimed precisely at litter will be introduced in April and local authorities will not succeed in their Corporate Performance Assessment unless they implement the new system of retaining the fines to pay for enforcement.

Mr Blizzard said: "Litter, including dog fouling, is pollution. It's the most common and widespread form of pollution, perhaps so common that people often don't think of it as pollution.

"Yet, as we know only too well, our streets and open spaces are nowhere near clean because the law is simply not being enforced."

He said it was costing the country £450million a year in taxes to clear up litter.

"This is a waste of money and human effort. We must make the polluter, the litter lout, pay," said Mr Blizzard.

As a former teacher, with 25 years' experience, Mr Blizzard said he did not want to see money spent on education and campaigns.

"I want it spent on enforcement, otherwise we won't change the culture. What changes the culture more than anything else is if people know they are likely to be caught. By putting the money received from fines towards employing more litter wardens the greater that chance," he said.

Mr Blizzard welcomed the Government's move and said the prize was cleaner streets, parks and open spaces for everyone.

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david.lennard@eadt.co.uk


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