More about litter

Litter and the law

Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990 states that if a person drops, throws, deposits or leaves anything, so as to cause defacement in a public place, they could be committing a littering offence. Remember - cigarette butts and discarded chewing gum are also classed as litter.

Fixed penalty charges

Depositing litter: £80 (Section 87/88 of the Environmental Protection Act). Reduction for early payment if paid within ten days £60.


The EPA 1990 makes us responsible for keeping our land clear of litter. How we do this is contained in a government document call the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse which accompanies Part IV (section 89) of the EPA. The Code of Practice sets out reasonable and acceptable standards of cleanliness, which we have to meet.

What matters is maintaining the cleanliness of an area, rather than how often it is cleaned.

Compliance with the code is measured in two ways:

  • Cleanliness grades which set out how clean an area should be
  • Cleanliness standards which indicate response times for cleaning up

The entire borough is 'zoned' according to how much use an area gets. Each of these zones has a timescale within which we have to return it to a litter-free standard.

The legislation is complex and the easiest way to understand it is to refer to the booklet 'Litter and the Law - a guide for the public'. Copies of this booklet are available from the council or from the Keep Britain Tidy website.

The council aims to provide sufficient and suitable litter bins throughout the borough and ensure that they are maintained and emptied regularly.

Last updated: 27/03/2013 15:02 

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