Litter makes the borough look unattractive and can cause further problems like attracting pests.
For many people litter is the most important issue of the local environmental quality agenda, as it is the most widespread blight of our public spaces. It is costing councils half a billion pounds annually to clear it up.
We don't clear litter or investigate complaints from privately owned land or from an area outside of the borough.
It's a criminal offence to leave litter under section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. A person is guilty of the offence if they throw down, drop or otherwise deposit, and then leave, any litter in a place to which the section applies, namely all land that is open to the air, including private land and land covered by water. The only defences are that the act was authorised by law, or done with the consent of the owner or occupier of the land.
The Act provides no definition of litter, although the courts have interpreted it to be wide and encompassing. The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, has removed any previous ambiguity by explicitly stating that litter includes smoking and chewing gum related material. In reality, the most common forms of litter relate to smoking, eating and drinking.
If you wish to provide supporting photographs when reporting litter that needs clearing up, can we ask that you include photographs like the example below.
Litter issue, full or overflowing litter bin
Damaged or vandalised litter bin
Standards and response times
If you report a problem relating to litter scattered on a public highway or over a public open space under our control, we have a certain amount of time to bring it back to a reasonable condition, depending on where the problem is. Response times are detailed in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.