New penalties proposed for Newcastle litterbugs

Newcastle Borough Council Headquarters

Newcastle Borough Council is looking to hit people who illegally dispose of their rubbish in the pocket with new proposals.

Anyone caught throwing rubbish from vehicles could face being hit with a £100 fine.

The offence would carry the same financial penalty imposed on someone who drops litter in a street.

The authority is also considering punishing ‘small-scale fly-tippers’ with a £400 fine rather than taking them to court.

The extra penalties are possible thanks to new Government regulations being brought in this April.

Taxi drivers are exempt from the fines if the litter is thrown by a passenger.

However, borough councillors have raised questions about enforcement and the level of evidence needed to fine litterers and fly-tippers.

Nesta Barker, the council’s head of environmental health services, said: “It would have to be witnessed. We can follow up complaints from members of the public but we have to have sufficient evidence to prove the case.

“If a member of the public sees it happening regularly we can try to follow it up but if it is a one-off I don’t think we could because we would have to have evidence.

“Mobile phone evidence would have to be reviewed to see if it is admissible. That would be a joint decision with the legal team to see if it was sufficient.”

Councillor Tony Kearon said: “Once these new powers are passed I would think about identifying a couple of areas where there seems to be an issue because of complaints from residents.

“If we do enforcement action in an area we need to make sure it is publicised in the media that people have received fines for throwing litter out of cars.”

A council report added: “We have not used fixed-penalty notices for fly-tipping before. Instead we have opted to take such offences to court where a larger fine can be imposed and the council’s costs recovered."

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