17 January 2019 by Elizabeth Slow

Luton council to issue penalties for ‘side waste’

Luton residents have been warned that they could  face penalties of up to £400 if they leave extra black sacks and items of waste alongside residual waste bins, under a new enforcement campaign by the council.

From the end of this month (January) this waste will be stickered by the council to warn people that they could face a £400 fine if they continue to leave material out.

Luton borough council has warned residents they could face fines of up to £400 for leaving waste beside bins (Picture: Luton borough council)

The council said it is introducing the measure as side waste is considered “dumped rubbish” and should not be left out for collection.

Councils have powers to address side waste through section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act (1990) which prohibits the unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal of waste.

Commenting on the measure, Councillor Aslam Khan, portfolio holder responsible for environmental enforcement at Luton council, said: “Most people are able to manage their waste, however there are still some bins with items that shouldn’t be in there as they could be recycled. More importantly in some areas there are extra black rubbish sacks left out for collection.

“Rubbish and unwanted items left by the side of bins makes a mess of our streets – it’s unsightly and can attract vermin. Anyone who puts out extra bags of rubbish next to their black bin could face a fine”.

Collection change

Last year, the council switched to fortnightly residual waste collections from a weekly service. The change was part of a strategy to reduce the amount of waste produced in the borough (see letsrecycle.com story).

Residual waste is collected from the kerbside as well as green bin collections for paper, metal cans, plastic bottles and textiles, a separate black box for glass, and a free garden waste service. Food waste is not currently collected at the kerbside, and according to the council makes up around 40% of material in residual waste, costing £3 million per year in disposal.

Other councils have introduced policies not to collect ‘side waste’, with some issuing fines for repeat offences.

In 2016, Flintshire proposed to introduce fixed penalty notices for residents leaving ‘side waste’ in a bid to boost its recycling rates (see letsrecycle.com story).

From 1 March 2018, Flintshire council said it will begin visiting residents who leave out ‘side waste’ with their black bin to encourage them to recycle.  If help and advice is ignored and people continue to leave out side waste, a £75 fine could be issued, the authority warned.

Authorities including Oxford and Slough council also enforce policies prohibiting side waste.

Last year Defra issued guidance urging councils to ensure that penalties for waste offences are issued in a ‘balanced’ manner, where it is likely to have a detrimental effect on local amenities, or is likely to cause a nuisance (see letsrecycle.com story).

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