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Defra warns councils against issuing bin fines

The Government is to “make clear” to councils that they should not fine residents for small breaches of bin etiquette.

A Defra spokesman said fresh guidance on the issue was imminent.

Legislation introduced in 2015 means local authorities can only fine householders for putting their rubbish out incorrectly if there is a “harm to local amenity”.

It is understood that ministers want to ensure councils focus on a small minority of people who damage the environment through waste offences.

A Defra spokesperson said: “As set out in our Litter Strategy for England, local authorities should use appropriate and proportionate enforcement measures to deal with litter and bin issues in their area.

“We will issue further guidance shortly, which will make clear that householders should not be fined for minor breaches of council waste rules.”

Meanwhile, the department has also launched a consultation on guidance to English councils on using litter enforcement powers fairly and effectively.

This consultation gives interested parties until 8 June to comment on the Government’s advice about the use of fixed penalties for a range of environmental crimes, including those related to domestic bins.

The maximum on-the-spot fine for littering and graffiti soared from £80 to £150 at the start of this month. Councils can also now use littering penalties against vehicle owners if it can be proved that rubbish was thrown from their car.

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