Bin fines to be scrapped for householders
Council fines imposed on householders for putting their waste in the wrong bin are to be scrapped under new plans set out by Defra today (January 16).
The department has launched a consultation to stop local authorities issuing penalties of up to £1,000 on households that overfill their bins or accidentally leave their rubbish out on the wrong day.
Under the current system, councils have the power to issue fixed penalty notices of up to £110, or push for criminal convictions and a fine of up to £1,000.
The move would mean that fines could only be permitted if the local authority could prove that a household is causing 'harm to local amenity' by putting out their rubbish in the wrong way.
Councils can still take action against people who cause problems for their neighbours or the environment by not managing their rubbish properly, without the same threat applying to people that make innocent mistakes.
Until the new laws come into effect, Recycling Minister Lord Taylor has written to all councils about plans to make interim changes to reduce the level of penalties to as little as £40 from this spring.
In launching the consultation, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said that the Government was "consigning these bin fines to the scrap heap of history".
She added: "We want to see people helping us to boost recycling rates by putting out their rubbish correctly, but bullying them with fines is not the way to do it. This consultation will mean that only those causing real problems for their community will get punished."
The intention to reduce penalties for incorrectly putting out household waste for collection was set out in the Government's Waste Review, published in June last year.