Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs)
One of the top priorities identified in the latest Residents' Survey was keeping the streets clean. A significant amount of work goes into street cleansing but an important part of keeping Basingstoke clean includes tackling issues such as littering, dog fouling, fly-tipping and fly posting.
One of the tools used by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to tackle these issues is FPNs. The types of offences these penalties are used for include:
- Dog fouling
- Cycling on pavements
- Fly posting
- Breach of Community Protection Notices (CPNs).
FPNs are offered for certain offences as an alternative to prosecution but whether or not you will be offered an FPN will depend on the circumstances of the offence. If you are offered an FPN following the commission of an offence but chose not to accept it, the file will be passed to the legal team to list with the court.
What can fixed penalty notices be issued for?
Below is a list of offences Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council currently issues FPNs for, together with the set penalties:
|Offence||If paid within 10 days of issue||Full penalty|
|Unlawful disposal of waste (fly-tipping)||£250||£400|
|Cycling on a footpath||£30||£30|
|Failure to comply with a Community Protection Notice||£75||£100|
|Failure to produce waste documents||£180||£300|
|Failure to produce authority to transport waste||£180||£300|
|Unauthorised distribution of free printed matter||£50||£75|
|Failure to comply with a waste receptacles notice||£60||£100|
|Smoking in a smoke-free place||£30||£50|
|Failure to comply with a public space protection order||£75||£100|
Please note: littering includes cigarette butts and spitting
Frequently asked questions
- Can I appeal a FPN?
There are no formal grounds of appeal against a FPN. A FPN is an offer for you to avoid your liability to prosecution. This means that while this is not an admission of guilt, you agree that an offence has been committed and that by paying the sum of money specified no further action will be taken by the council. This method of dealing with offences not only saves the time involved for everyone (including the offender) in prosecuting cases at court, but the cost associated with a FPN is likely to be substantially lower than any fine imposed by the courts. For example the maximum penalty which can be imposed by the courts for littering is £2,500. If you do not agree that you committed the offence then the matter will be dealt with through formal prosecution via the courts. It will then be up to the court, on receiving evidence, to determine whether or not an offence was committed and therefore whether or not any penalty should be imposed. This means that the formal court route is effectively the appeal process. It should be noted that the financial penalty imposed by the courts can be much higher than that the FPN.
- What can I do if I want to raise a concern about the issue of a FPN?
Although there is no formal route of appeal, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has set up a representation process to enable anyone who receives a FPN to raise concerns they may have about its issue. If you have received a FPN and do not agree it was for the correct reasons, please complete an online representation form or complete and return the form below.
- I'm struggling to pay on time and am worried I will miss the deadline, what should I do?
The representation form can also be used to let us know that you are having difficulty paying the penalty. Please make sure you include evidence of your financial situation and why you will not be able to pay on time. We are not able to offer a payment plan but may be able to arrange an extension depending on your circumstances.
- I've put a bit of rubbish behind my house, is that fly-tipping?
If you put any kind of waste on land that isn’t your own then yes this is fly-tipping. It’s your responsibility to dispose of your rubbish correctly. Most waste can be taken to the household waste and recycling centre, and there are only charges for soil and rubble, plasterboard and asbestos. Alternatively you can arrange a bulky collection from the council or employ a licensed waste company to take things away.
- I've put my grass cuttings in the woods, that can't be fly-tipping can it?
Yes this is fly-tipping. Grass cuttings are waste just like any other garden waste. Open composting green waste will harm the natural habitat and flora, and create easy nesting spots for pests like rats. Use your own composting bin, take your garden waste to the household waste and recycling centre, or subscribe to our garden waste collection service.
- I've just taken some cardboard and other items to a recycling site. The bins were full so I left them on the ground next to the bin - that can't be fly-tipping?
Yes it is. It’s waste that isn’t in a bin and that the council has to clear. If it rains, it’s no good for recycling, and people see it as an excuse to dump other items on the floor. You can recycle extra/large cardboard simply by putting it next to your recycling bin on your collection day.
- I don't see why I should pay if there are no signs about littering or dog fouling in the area?
The council is not required to place signs in every street, road, highway, park or open space to tell people not to litter or to inform them that litter patrols are operating in the area. Litter legislation has been in force for many years and littering in many parts of the UK is at such levels that councils across the country are now actively issuing Fixed Penalty Notices in order to drive the message home to those who spoil our towns and cities by carelessly discarding their rubbish.
- I didn't know that dropping litter was an offence, has the council informed the public?
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has run a number of campaigns over recent years specifically targeting littering and dog fouling. The current campaign began towards the end of 2014 following a multi-media launch to highlight litter enforcement including regular press releases, flyers, the council website, use of social media and articles in Basingstoke and Deane Today as well as officers speaking face to face with businesses and members of the public.
- Why should I pay a FPN 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 mess, once bagged can be placed in any litter bin in the borough, not only the recognised red bins. 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 FPN for dropping a cigarette butt, surely that can't be considered littering?
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. Cigarette butts also account for the majority of litter on our streets.
- If I pick up the litter after an officer has approached me, do I still receive a fine?
Littering offences relate to the dropping or depositing of litter so whether or not you volunteer to pick up your litter afterwards, you have still committed an offence and will receive a Fixed Penalty Notice.
- But cigarette butts can't be placed in litter bins because they will catch fire
Smokers are responsible for ensuring that they completely extinguish their cigarettes before placing them in the 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 butts properly. Obviously care should be taken to avoid any risk of fire and in particular cigarette ends should be completely extinguished before the butt is put in the bin.
- But I wasn't given a warning, surely that is not fair?
There is no requirement to issue a warning first, particularly as the FPN is an opportunity to avoid prosecution for the offence. There have been multiple education campaigns over recent years, including advertising, social media, websites, articles in the press and Basingstoke and Deane Today. In addition, organisations like Keep Britain Tidy have launched numerous campaigns to help get across the anti-littering message across. The council takes its responsibilities to keep the borough clean seriously and as part of this it is important that every effort is made to reduce the amount of litter that makes it onto the streets, which includes taking a clear stance that the council will not tolerate littering.
- I don't have to give my details to the officer if I don't want to
Failing to give your name and address is a further offence, which you could also be prosecuted for.