A year-long crackdown on littering in Aldershot and Farnborough has so far seen more than 1,300 fines issued.
Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet agreed a pilot project last February, which saw enforcement officers from East Hampshire Commercial Services Limited, on patrol throughout Aldershot and Farnborough. The East Hampshire team has considerable experience running littering and dog-fouling projects for councils and the scheme is designed to be cost neutral.
The zero tolerance campaign on littering involved enforcement officers issuing fixed penalty notices (FPNs) of £75 to anyone they witnessed dropping litter. Anyone who refused to pay ended up in court with a criminal record if convicted.
The council is due to review the results of the pilot over the coming months.
Up until the end of December 2018, the results of the pilot showed that: a total of 1,322 FPNs had been issued, 120 people were taken to court for unpaid fines and, of these, 87 people admitted the offence or were found guilty in their absence. The rest are currently under further investigation.
The courts awarded an average fine of £220 for non- payment, reduced by one third for an early guilty plea, plus a £30 victim surcharge and costs awarded to the council of £168.
The first not guilty trial was heard at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on 17 January, resulting in a £75 fine, £30 victim surcharge and £388.75 costs.
Councillor Maurice Sheehan, Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Operational Services, said: “One of the most common complaints the council receives is about littering, so we were keen to start tackling this proactively with the pilot scheme.
“We believe the message that you can’t just drop litter and walk away without any consequences is beginning to get through.”
Councillor Martin Tennant, Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Major Projects and Property, who originally proposed the pilot scheme, said: “It’s really important for us to prevent littering and try and maintain a clean environment as we work towards improving and regenerating our town centres. The work of the enforcement officers as a deterrent is vital as we strive to improve our towns.”