Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twenty-Sixth Report


APPENDIX 1

Memorandum from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

LITTER (FIXED PENALTY) (ENGLAND) ORDER 2002 (S.I. 2002/424)

1. The Committee has requested a memorandum on the following point regarding the Litter (Fixed Penalty)(England) Order 2002:

"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 manner.

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 authorities.

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



 
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