While most of the misdemeanours covered by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act are more at the level of public nuisance than crime of the century, the act does tackle problems that can have a serious impact on the overall feel of a community.

The latest part of the act to come into force grants local authorities the power to hand out £80 spot fines for fly tippers, litter louts, those who fail to clean up after their dogs, people who hand out flyers in the street, fly posters and graffiti artists.

Slighter bigger fines of £100 will be issued to those who leave burglar alarms ringing for more than 20 minutes or who create a nuisance by repairing or selling vehicles in the street, while those who dump vehicles can be fined up to £200.

The big fines are reserved for those who leave on over-bright security lights and cause other light pollution, however (see related story).

Stargazers and those simply after an uninterrupted night’s sleep will be pleased to hear residential light pollution can now lead to fines of up to £5,000 while businesses can be charged up to £20,000.

Shops can also be charged for the recovery of their trolleys and there will also be a limit set on the number of dogs that can be walked by one person.

Cllr David Sparks, chairman of the Local Government Association’s environment board, said: “People want to live in clean, safe and quiet neighbourhoods and councils now have the power to make this happen.

“For too many years councils have had too little power to tackle the people who blight the local area.

“Local authorities have been asking government for greater power for years and now they have these measures they will use them to literally clean up the streets.

“Larger fines and the ability to issue on the spot penalties will give councils the power to deal effectively with the minority of people and businesses who spoil the local area for the rest of the community.”

Sam Bond

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