Litterbug clampdown in quest to make borough the ‘cleanest place to live’ in London
PUBLISHED: 19:30 19 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:03 20 December 2018
Barking and Dagenham Council has hired 10 litter enforcers in its quest to become the ‘cleanest place to live’ in London.
The enforcement officers issue £75 on the spot fines to litterers including smokers caught carelessly throwing away their cigarette butts.
Earlier this month Sirous Baziyar, of Loxford Road, Barking, was ordered to pay £600 when he failed to pay his on the spot fine for dropping his cigarette butt in Green Lane, Dagenham, in April this year.
In a week-long operation in Barking at the end of November the enforcement team issued 45 on the spot fines amounting to £3,375.
Offenders who do not pay the fine within two weeks are being threatened with court action - where they could slapped with a maximum fine of £2,500 and shamed on the council’s website.
Councillor Darren Rodwell, council leader, said: “We want to be the cleanliness capital of London and our fight against litter louts starts with our enforcement officers.
“They are the frontline when it comes to finding rubbish, identifying the offenders and issuing fines.”
He said: “We will use all powers available to us – whether that is fines or prosecutions – to make that a reality.”
But some residents are not convinced the plan is working.
They have accused the officers of targeting smokers in the town centres for easy fines and say the borough does not have enough public bins or a good enough refuse collection.
Dave Sheldon said: “I agree if you are caught littering you should be fined along with dog mess and spitting. However, I would like to see how they are planning to make the borough the cleanest [in London] when they are struggling to do the basics like actually taking peoples bins when they are due and are struggling to keep residential streets clean.”
Sheila Munn added: “My daughter was fined for putting out a cigarette outside Barking station. She offered to pick up the butt but was told she still was being fined for dropping it in first place.”
In July, the council started a “grime crime” YouTube series aimed at identifying fly tippers caught on CCTV and is naming and shaming people who refuse to pay fines on its website.
The borough started its crackdown after revealing it had issued almost 400 fixed penalty notices this year and it was spending more than £380,000 a year cleaning up fly-tips.