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Conservatives in the Greater London Assembly today called for legislation to be introduced to allow councils to kee...
Conservatives in the Greater London Assembly today called for legislation to be introduced to allow councils to keep the revenue from litter fines, thus encouraging better enforcement of anti-litter regulations. Roger Evans, the Conservative environment spokesman, said the move was necessary as not enough councils were enforcing the powers they received in the 1990 Environmental Protection Act to combat rubbish and litter. Mr Evans said:
'London's streets are getting dirtier and dirtier. Local authorities have the power to combat rubbish and litter but most simply do not enforce their existing regulations. Since revenue from prosecutions goes to central government, enforcing regulations just leads to higher costs for councils.
'The cost to councils of cleaning streets nationally is close to£340m a year. It makes sense to allow councils to keep the fines they impose on those dropping litter or fly posting in London. Such measures will only encourage local authorities to enforce existing regulations and make the capital a more pleasant place to live for all Londoners.'
The income should be ring-fenced, such that they will be allowed to spend any revenue on tackling waste and litter - such as funding dog wardens, anti-graffiti squads and litter patrols - to tackle everything from fly-tipped rubbish to discarded hypodermic needles.
On-the-spot fines in England and Wales fell from 2,500 in 1990 to 422 in 1999. In the West Midlands, more than 11,000 complaints about litter were made by members of the public last year, yet not a single fine was levied.
In London 'streets are being swamped by rubbish because most town halls are too lazy to fine litter louts'. (Evening Standard, 04/07/00) The costs of cleaning up litter from Central London is more than£20m a year (Evening Standard, 28/03/00). More than 3,000 tonnes of solid waste are removed from the Thames by the Port of London Authority annually at a cost of more than£600,000.
According to a survey conducted by the Tidy Britain Group, almost 9,000 complaints about dirty streets were recorded by boroughs in 1999 but most were ignored and few offenders were penalised. Councils have various powers to deal with litter louts, including£25 on the spot fines. However, revenue from these goes to central government so the litter fines are not cost effective. The Tidy Britain Group supports local authorities being allowed to retain revenue from fines.
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