Bin fines slashed as Defra looks to phase out penalties

Spot fines for overfilling or putting bins out for collection at the wrong time been significantly reduced under new laws which came into effect today (May 30).

The new rules issued by Defra – which are intended to be an interim measure – mean that fixed penalties will be reduced from a maximum of £110 to as little as £40.

The Government is now pursuing a longer-term law change that will remove the threat of bin fines for anyone who makes an innocent mistake such as putting out their waste an hour too early or leaving their bin lid open.

The move would mean that fines would only be available if a householder is causing ‘harm to local amenity’ by putting out their rubbish in the wrong way.

Councils however could still take action against people who cause problems for their neighbours or the local environment by not managing their rubbish properly.

A consultation on this change was carried out earlier this year and the responses are currently being considered.

Announcing the changes today, Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, said: “The threat of a £110 fine for a simple mistake such as putting your bin out an hour early suggests the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

“Today is the first step towards a return to common sense. People should be encouraged to do their bit by putting out their rubbish in the right way, but hefty fines are not the way to do it.”

Maxine Perella

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