What is environmental enforcement?
Environmental enforcement means issuing penalties for environmental crimes such as Dog Fouling, Littering offences, fly tipping which may harm the environment and impact on the community. These penalties are called Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs).
Why we do it
Wrexham County Borough Council take environmental crime seriously. We aim to keep Wrexham a pleasant place for our residents and visitors.
We know that you do too. That is why we work hard to keep the town tidy and clean. Part of this work unfortunately involves enforcement.
What powers we have to enforce
We have a legal duty to clear litter and refuse from public places that we are responsible for such as streets, parks, playgrounds and pedestrian areas. If a piece of private land is littered, the owner must accept responsibility for clearing the litter.
Since the Environment Protection Act 1990 (external link) became law further enhanced by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (external link), measures have been introduced enabling local authorities to issue FPNs to anyone committing an environmental crime that damages the local environment.
How we enforce
We enforce by issuing Fixed Penalty Notices to those committing environmental crimes in the borough. FPNs are issued for the offences of dropping litter. This includes items such as chewing gum, cigarette butts and fast food and other forms of litter such as wrapping. It also includes failing to pick up after your dog or not disposing of the dog litter in the correct way.
The FPNs we issue for those caught dropping litter are £75. The FPNs we issue for those not picking up after their dog are £100, £75 if paid within 7 days.
Fly-tipping can present a hazard to the public, it can pollute the land and watercourses, looks unsightly and costs tax-payers significant amounts of money to clear it away.
Everyone has a legal responsibility to dispose of waste properly. All waste must be dealt with by a registered carrier.
For Littering the fine can be up to £2500, for Dog Fouling £1000 and for fly tipping, parties can be fined up to £50,000 or imprisonment.
Enforcement is carried out by uniformed council enforcement officers (Civil Enforcement Officers). These Officers have the power to issue FPNs. They operate around the borough.
What else do we do to deal with environmental crime?
Enforcement is more than penalising environmental crimes after they have happened. It is also about preventing them from happening.
We have run a number of publicity campaigns to tackle the issue of environmental crime. More recently we have introduced new Public Space Protection Orders to deal with dog fouling and other forms of anti-social behaviour.
Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN’s) - How to make a representation
Fixed Penalty Notices are designed to give an offender the opportunity to discharge any liability to conviction for an offence - which means that by paying the fine, an offender can avoid being taken to court.
There is no formal representation process for FPN – if you disagree that you have committed an offence, you can decide not to pay the FPN and the matter will then be decided by a Court. However, this can be expensive and time-consuming for both parties, so the Council therefore has an informal representation process that can help to resolve disputes before they get to Court.
In order to serve a FPN, the Council will have evidence that an offence was committed by the person. Legally the evidence required is the enforcement officer has witnessed the offence. Any representation must therefore clearly show the reasons why the FPN should be cancelled. You will need to give us evidence you have, such as photos, witnesses etc., so that we can fully consider your representation.
How do we deal with representations?
If you are served a FPN by Wrexham Council or anyone acting on our behalf, but you disagree that you have committed an offence or feel that it was unreasonable for us to serve the Notice, you can make a representation in writing by letter or email.
Every representation will:
Be considered on its merits, on the basis of the information and evidence provided by the appellant and by the person who issued the Notice.
Receive a full written response, normally within 10 working days. Where a more detailed investigation is required, appeals will be acknowledged within 5 working days.
Where representations are not upheld, the reasons for this will be explained, a further 14 day period given for payment will be given.
If you are not satisfied with your response then you can make further representations to Wrexham Council’s enforcement services co-ordinator who will fully review the matter.
If you are still not satisfied, there is a corporate complaints process which allows an investigation to be carried out by the corporate complaints team. Details of this procedure will be provided with every response to a representation, or can be accessed in the Complaints area of the website.
What you can do to help
You can help us keep Wrexham clean and tidy by reporting these problems to us when you notice them.
To report fly-tipping/Littering/dog fouling tell us:
- where the offence is happening
- what the rubbish/issue is and the amount of it
- a description of the person committing the offence or the registration number of any vehicle that was involved (this makes it possible to trace and prosecute the fly-tippers).
You may be asked to make a witness statement so that we can take legal action against the offender if the matter progresses to court.