Members of Canterbury City Council’s enforcement team

Fines for littering on city streets poised to double

Dropping litter on Canterbury’s streets could soon saddle you with a £150 fine.

Councillors are considering increasing the current £80 fine after the government agreed local authorities could raise charges.

If approved next week, the move will be seen as an intensification of the war on litter in Canterbury.

Council leader Simon Cook said: “This increase will be in line with what the government is saying we can do.

“People don’t like seeing litter. We hope this might act a powerful deterrent not to do so.”

A litter-strewn road

At present anyone caught dropping litter faces a flat £80 fine. Under the new system, they would be fined £150 – reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days.

The matter will come before the council’s community committee next week.

Community chairman Neil Baker said: “The government has raised the amount we can fine and if we didn’t do it, it would send the wrong message out.

“All our enforcement is done in-house these days and I would not like people to get the message that our officers are on bonuses – they’re not.

“In an ideal world people wouldn’t drop litter, but the fact is that every pound spent on dealing with litter is a pound not spent elsewhere.”

The report going before the community committee stresses the importance of raising fines and of allowing as reduction for early payment.

By head of safer neighbourhoods Doug Rattray, the report states: “The introduction of a higher fine level for litter FPNs will act as a deterrent.

“The discount for early payment should act as an incentive for payment.

“Littering is an issue for Canterbury and this would send a strong message that it is not tolerated and robust action with further consequences should they not adhere.”

But Lib Dem councillor Nick Eden-Green opposes the increase. He said: “Until the council can show the current system is effective and that on-the-spot fines are improving the litter situation, these hikes are unjustified.

“The council will find higher fines come with higher administration costs as people are less willing and less able to pay, making the money harder to collect.”

The community committee is likely to implement the new fines. It meets at the Guildhall at 7pm on Wednesday, March 21 to make its decision.

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