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Bin collection error fines reduced

Fines for householders who make mistakes over putting their bins out for collection are being reduced from today.

Residents will no longer face charges of more than £100 for overfilling their bins or putting them out at the wrong time, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

Under plans first announced in the waste review last year, the fixed penalties that local authorities can hand out have been reduced from £75-£110 to between £60 and £80. Those who pay up early could be fined as little as £40.

The Government has also pledged to change the law to remove the threat of fines for householders who make "innocent mistakes" over their rubbish.

Defra claims residents have faced fines from councils for putting rubbish out just an hour too early or for leaving bin lids open, but local authorities say they do not issue fines for small one-off mistakes and they are only used as a last resort.

Under the planned changes to the law, residents could only be fined if they were causing a "harm to local amenity", damaging their local area by putting out their rubbish in the wrong way.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: "The threat of a £110 fine for a simple mistake such as putting your bin out an hour early suggest the punishment doesn't fit the crime. Today is the first step towards a return to common sense. People should be encouraged to do their bit by putting out their rubbish in the right way, but hefty fines are not the way to do it."

But Clyde Loakes, vice chairman of the Local Government Association's environment board, said: "Councils do not penalise people who make one-off small mistakes like leaving out their bin on the wrong day, so it is important to put this into perspective.

"These fines are part of the package of tools councils use to clamp down on fly-tippers and people who leave unsightly rubbish creating a blight on their roads, streets and neighbourhoods.

"Fines are only ever issued as an absolute last resort when nuisance neighbours have persistently left waste piled up in the street and wilfully damaged their local environment or refused to co-operate."


From Belfast Telegraph