Memorandum from the Department for Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs
ORDER 2002 (S.I. 2002/424)
1. The Committee has requested a memorandum on the
following point regarding the Litter (Fixed Penalty)(England)
"This Order increases the fixed penalty in
section 88(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (fixed
penalty to discharge any liability to conviction for the offence
of leaving litter) from £25 to £50. Explain the reason
for this increase."
2. It is a criminal offence under section 87 of the
Environmental Protection Act 1990 to leave litter. A person who
is guilty of this offence is liable on summary conviction to a
fine not exceeding level four on the standard scale (see section
87(5) of the 1990 Act). The level of the maximum fine set by the
1990 Act reflects the significance of the environmental problems
caused by dropping litter.
3. Section 88 of the 1990 Act provides for the payment
of a fixed penalty to discharge any liability to conviction for
the offence of leaving litter under section 87 of the Act. The
Litter (Fixed Penalty) (England) Order 2002 (S.I. 2002/424)
increased the amount of the fixed penalty to £50.
4. Local authorities have been finding it increasingly
difficult to keep the streets clean. The Government intends that
increasing the amount of the fixed penalty should help to deter
members of the public from disposing of their litter in an irresponsible
5. The Government has for almost a year been running
a pilot scheme whereby certain local authorities have been allowed
to retain the revenue from the fixed penalties for dropping litter.
The local authorities concerned have received Local Public Service
Agreement Special Grants equal to the sums which they have paid
to the Secretary of State under section 88(6) of the 1990 Act.
The grants can be invested in the local environment, for example,
they can be used to employ more wardens to solve litter problems.
We are looking at ways of extending the scheme to other local
6. It is interesting to note that the increase in
the fixed penalty since 1990 is commensurate with the increase
during that period in the maximum fine on summary conviction of
the offence of dropping litter. When the 1990 Act received Royal
Assent level four on the standard scale stood at £500 (see
section 37(2) of the Criminal Justice Act 1982). Today level four
stands at £2500. Section 88(6) of the 1990 Act originally
set the amount of the fixed penalty at £10. This was increased
to £25 under powers conferred by section 88(7) of the 1990
Act by the Litter (Fixed Penalty) Order 1996 (S.I. 1996/3055)
and has now been increased to £50.
5th April 2002