Our Enforcement Officers can issue fines for litter (including dog fouling) and fly-tipping enforcement.
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If an offender wishes to make payment, they can do so:
- At one of our receptions at Ardeevin, Ballymena; Carrickfergus Civic Centre; or Smiley Buildings, Larne, by calling our Cash Desk on T: 028 2563 3159 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- For over the phone queries regarding Litter Enforcement issues please call T: 028 2563 3394.
If an offender wishes to make a complaint they can contact our Environmental Health Department at: email@example.com
What are fixed penalty notices?
Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (NI) 2011 enables local authorities to issue a FPN to anyone they have reason to believe committed an offence of littering. A FPN gives an alleged offender the opportunity of discharging their liability from being prosecuted by paying the FPN. If an offender fails to avail of this opportunity then Council will progress the matter in the Magistrates Court, where, if prosecuted, the maximum fine for littering can be up to £2,500 and may be faced with a conviction.
How much is a Fixed Penalty Notice?
The amount is set by the Local Authority using the current guidelines for penalty notice levels and is currently £120, with an early payment rate of £80.
Can I appeal a Fixed Penalty Notice?
There are no formal grounds of appeal against the issuance of a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). This is because the FPN is simply an invitation to effectively cease any further proceedings taking place by way of paying the FPN. This means that you are agreeing that an offence has been committed and that by paying the sum requested for that particular offence, no further action will be taken by the council.
This method of dealing with these offences saves the time of all parties involved, it also ensures the offender does not have a fine imposed by the courts. As an example, the maximum fine which can be imposed for littering is £2,500.
But I don't agree that I committed the offence for which I have received a Fixed Penalty Notice?
If you have received a Fixed Penalty Notice and do not agree that you have committed the offence, then the matter can be escalated through formal prosecution via the Courts. It will be at this point whereby the Court will decide, upon receiving all evidence (such as an Officer’s witness statement), determine whether or not an offence has in fact been committed and therefore whether a penalty should or should not be imposed.
This is where you can ‘appeal’ the Fixed Penalty Notice – however, please note the penalty at this point may be more than what was originally put before you with the FPN.
I don't see why I should pay if there are no signs about littering or dog fouling in the area?
Offences relating to littering, fly tipping, duty of care related matters and dog fouling are all offences. The authority is not required to place signs; nor are they required to put signs up advising people that patrols are within the area.
I didn't know it was an offence, has the Council informed the public?
Council do notify the public via media campaigns through various outlets; including social media. However, the legal position on the matter is that ignorance to the offence is not an excuse.
Why should I pay a Fixed Penalty Notice when there were no litter or dog bins nearby at the time?
As with signage it is not feasible for the council to put litter bins in every street, road and highway in the borough, though of course every effort is made to place bins where they are most needed and where there are the greatest levels of pedestrian footfall, such as in town centres, major shopping areas and Parks and open spaces. Dog poo, once bagged can be placed in any litter bin in the borough. Where bins are not available then it is up to everyone to act responsibly and make arrangements to either take their litter home or carry it until a litter bin is available.
I received a Fixed Penalty Notice for dropping a cigarette butt, surely that can't be considered littering?
Wrong. Litter includes not only cigarette butts but also chewing gum. In many ways these items are more of a nuisance and more expensive to clean up than other items of rubbish.
But cigarette stubs aren't really waste as they can't be placed in litter bins because they will catch fire?
It is your responsibility to dispose of your litter accordingly; therefore it is your responsibility as a smoker to ensure that you completely extinguish your cigarette before placing them within a bin.
Cigarette waste is the same as any other waste in terms of litter laws and you can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for not disposing of cigarette stubs properly. Obviously, care should be taken to avoid any risk of fire and in particular cigarette ends should be completely extinguished before the stub is thrown into the bin. There is also no reason why smokers (who are well aware that their habit means that they will be faced with disposing of their cigarette waste) cannot carry portable 'butt bins' with them.
But I wasn't given a warning, surely that is not fair?
Enforcement Officers do not give people warnings – the issuance of a Fixed Penalty Notice is a method for the offender to accept liability for the offence and make payment. This is to avoid the matter proceeding before the Magistrates Court.
I have limited funds and I will not be able to pay within the 14 days what can I do?
You can contact us to discuss options, this can be done by speaking to an Enforcement Officer on T: 028 2563 3394.
Where do the Enforcement Officers patrol?
The Officers are tasked to areas of highest demand and will patrol wherever there is evidence of littering, fly tipping and dog foul throughout the Borough.
What happens if I refuse to pay the fixed penalty?
Council will progress the matter to the Magistrates Court where upon any successful conviction you will be prosecuted and fined for the offence.