5.4.2 Legislation for Litter

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 is the legislation currently used to enforce the offence of Litter in the UK. The act itself was amended in several years ago by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005

The Clean Neighbourhood and Environmental Act 2005 added some changes to the legislation. This extended the offence to all open spaces, classified litter authorities as receiving the monies from FPN and a few other changes.

This course is designed to give you the basis to do the Job and as we stated earlier you don’t need to be an expert in practicing law to fulfil that role.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 is made up of 164 sections with 16 schedules. The provisions relating to litter are 86 to 98 however, you only need to know two. The sections 87 and 88 are what you need to know in relation to our role, enforcing litter.

Section 87 of The Environmental Protection Act 1990 - the offence of leaving litter

87 – offence of leaving litter

1) A person is guilty of an offence if he throws down, drops or otherwise deposits any litter in any place to which this section applies and leaves it.

(2) This section applies to any place in the area of a principal litter authority which is open to the air, subject to subsection (3) below.

(3) This section does not apply to a place which is “open to the air” for the purposes of this Part by virtue of section 86(13) above if the public does not have access to it, with or without payment.

(4) It is immaterial for the purposes of this section whether the litter is deposited on land or in water.

(4A) No offence is committed under subsection (1) above where the depositing of the litter is—

(a) authorised by law; or

(b) done by or with the consent of the owner, occupier or other person having control of the place where it is deposited.

(4B) A person may only give consent under subsection (4A) (b) above in relation to the depositing of litter in a lake or pond or watercourse if he is the owner, occupier or other person having control of—

(a) all the land adjoining that lake or pond or watercourse; and

(b) all the land through or into which water in that lake or pond or watercourse directly or indirectly discharges, otherwise than by means of a public sewer.

(4C) In subsection (4B) above, “lake or pond”, “watercourse” and “public sewer” have the same meanings as in section 104 of the Water Resources Act 1991.

(4D) No proceedings may be instituted for an offence under subsection (1) which is a littering offence in respect of a vehicle within the meaning of section 88A (2) if—

(a) a penalty notice has been given under section 88A to the keeper of the vehicle in respect of which the offence was committed, and

(b) the fixed penalty has been paid or recovered in full.

(5) A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.

(6) A local authority, with a view to promoting the abatement of litter, may take such steps as the authority think appropriate for making the effect of subsection (5) above known to the public in their area.

(7) In any proceedings in Scotland for an offence under this section it shall be lawful to convict the accused on the evidence of one witness.