5.4.3 Consequence of littering

It’s now been established what is needed to be proven for an offence to occur. The next section looks at the consequences of littering.

As stated in s87, the legislation allows for a prosecution to take place. The maximum level of a fine is set at scale 4 on the standard scale. Level 4 on the standard scale is currently set at £2500. If a person is found guilty of an offence in a court, then it will be a criminal conviction and recorded as so.

The second section officers use is listed below.

Section 88 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990: Fixed penalty notices for leaving litter.

88 Fixed penalty notices for leaving litter.

(1) Where on any occasion an authorised officer of a litter authority finds a person who he has reason to believe has on that occasion committed an offence under section 87 above in the area of that authority, he may give that person a notice offering him the opportunity of discharging any liability to conviction for that offence by payment of a fixed penalty.

(2) Where a person is given a notice under this section in respect of an offence—

(a) no proceedings shall be instituted for that offence before the expiration of fourteen days following the date of the notice; and

(b) he shall not be convicted of that offence if he pays the fixed penalty before the expiration of that period.

(3) A notice under this section shall give such particulars of the circumstances alleged to constitute the offence as are necessary for giving reasonable information of the offence and shall state—

(a) the period during which, by virtue of subsection (2) above, proceedings will not be taken for the offence;

(b) the amount of the fixed penalty; and

(c) the person to whom and the address at which the fixed penalty may be paid;

and, without prejudice to payment by any other method, payment of the fixed penalty may be made by pre-paying and posting to that person at that address a letter containing the amount of the penalty (in cash or otherwise).

(4) Where a letter is sent in accordance with subsection (3) above payment shall be regarded as having been made at the time at which that letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.

(5) The form of notices under this section shall be such as the Secretary of State may by order prescribe.

(6) The fixed penalty payable in pursuance of a notice under this section is payable to the litter authority whose authorised officer gave the notice.

(6A) The amount of a fixed penalty payable in pursuance of a notice under this section—

(a) is the amount specified by a principal litter authority in relation to its area (whether the penalty is payable to that or another authority), or

(b)if no amount is so specified, is—

(i) in England, £100, or

(ii) in Wales, £75.

(6B) The reference in subsection (6A) above to a principal litter authority does not include an English county council for an area for which there is also a district council.

(7) The litter authority to which a fixed penalty is payable under this section may make provision for treating it as having been paid if a lesser amount is paid before the end of a period specified by the authority.

(8) In any proceedings a certificate which—

(a) purports to be signed by or on behalf of—

(i) in England and Wales, the chief finance officer of the litter authority; or

(ii) in Scotland, the proper officer; and

(b) states that payment of a fixed penalty was or was not received by a date specified in the certificate,

shall be evidence of the facts stated.

(8A) If an authorised officer of a litter authority proposes to give a person a notice under this section, the officer may require the person to give him his name and address.

(8B) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he fails to give his name and address when required to do so under subsection (8A) above, or

(b) he gives a false or inaccurate name or address in response to a requirement under that subsection.

(8C) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (8B) above is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.]

(9) For the purposes of this section the following are “litter authorities”—

(a) any principal litter authority, other than [an English county] council [, a regional council] or a joint board;

(b) any [English] county council [, regional council] or joint board designated by the Secretary of State, by order, in relation to such area as is specified in the order (not being an area in a National Park);

(e) the Broads Authority.

(f) a parish or community council.

(10) In this section—

“authorised officer”, in relation to a litter authority, means—

(a) an employee of the authority who is authorised in writing by the authority for the purpose of giving notices under this section;

(b) any person who, in pursuance of arrangements made with the authority, has the function of giving such notices and is authorised in writing by the authority to perform that function; and

(c) any employee of such a person who is authorised in writing by the authority for the purpose of giving such notices;

“chief finance officer”, in relation to a litter authority, means the person having responsibility for the financial affairs of the authority;

“proper officer” means the officer who has, as respects the authority, the responsibility mentioned in section 95 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (financial administration).

(11) The appropriate person may by regulations prescribe conditions to be satisfied by a person before a parish or community council may authorise him in writing for the purpose of giving notices under this section.


The above section refers to the powers authorised officers have to issue a fixed penalty notice to persons they have reason to believe committed an offence.

It also deals with the offence of a person who fails to provide details to an authorised officer and that itself is constituted as a separate offence. A person guilty of failing to provide details is subject to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale. Standard scale is currently set at £1000.

This section also gives rules about allowing 14 days to pay a penalty and the amounts that are set as a default if local authorities do not set the amounts.

Local Authorities can set FPN’s for Litter up to £150.