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Street Litter Control Notices

Local councils are required to clear litter from pavements and the highways. The cost to the public in doing this can be greatly reduced if people properly dispose of their litter.

A number of specific laws were brought in to encourage and allow enforcement to support proper disposal and to reduce the financial burden on councils in street cleansing. One of the legal powers (Street Litter Control Notices) gives councils the power to tackle street litter generated from certain types of business premises. There is no restriction on the type of litter that can be controlled and it applies both to litter generated directly by the business concerned AND from its customers/clients of the business even if they drop litter off the premises.

Street Litter Control Notices (SLCNs) create a ‘legal duty’ meaning that businesses that generate litter on their shop frontage and in most cases, also, within up to 100m of the business, can be required to clear up the litter and implement measures to prevent the land from becoming defaced again.

Street Litter Control Notices apply to the following types of business:

  • Premises used wholly or partly for the sale of food and drink for consumption either off the premises or on the premises if outside and adjacent to the street.
  • Service stations.
  • Recreational venues such as cinemas, theatres, sports facilities and pitches.
  • Banks and building societies with automated teller machines.
  • Betting shops.
  • Premises selling lottery tickets.
  • Premises ‘outside’ where goods are displayed for sale on or adjacent to the street.
  • Mobile vehicles, stalls and other moveable structures used for commercial or retail activities on a street.

Enforcement officers operate across the City and the will help and advise businesses on compliance, but where advice and informal requests to deal with litter problems hasn’t worked SLCNs provide an enforcement mechanism which Birmingham City Council will use. This would place ongoing legal responsibilities onto owners and businesses that are contributing to the problem.

What happens if we need to serve a Street Litter Control Notice?
A Street Litter Control Notice is served on the occupier or (if the premises are unoccupied) the owner, so as to place an ongoing obligation on him to comply with the requirement(s) specified for that land.

Birmingham City Council will inform the person on whom the notice is to be served and allow them a 21 day period in which to make any representations. There is a right of appeal to the magistrates’ court against a Street Litter Control Notice.

If a person fails to comply it is an offence with a maximum fine on conviction of £2500. As an alternative to criminal prosecution we may offer the opportunity to pay a fixed penalty notice instead.

We are trying to work with all premises and get them to sign up to a Voluntary Agreement about reducing their business litter instead of taking any formal enforcement action.

Summary of the Voluntary Code of Practice
We all benefit from, or are disadvantaged by, the state of our local environment, and we all need to play our part in maintaining or improving its standard. Businesses and local authorities play a vital role in educating the public not to drop litter and setting a good example through existing practice (an example would be where a business organises their staff to litter pick in the vicinity of the premises on a regular basis).

This Voluntary Code is not intended to be prescriptive, but instead aims to promote a voluntary framework of recommendations for all parties to work together to find the best solutions to achieving a cleaner, more pleasant place to do business.

What is the aim of the Voluntary Code?
To reduce waste from businesses and their customers, with a particular focus on fast-food, cigarette and cash machine receipt related litter.

Who is it the Voluntary Code for?
All businesses that are covered by the legislation and particularly premises selling food and drink for immediate consumption outdoors and premises where smokers create cigarette related waste on pavements outside premises, for example pubs and clubs.

The Voluntary Code will also support Town Centre Managers and Business Improvement Districts.

Research carried out on behalf of Government by the Keep Britain Tidy organisation shows that all types of food that are consumed outside and disposed of incorrectly become ‘fast food’ litter. Fast food litter is defined as "any fast food (as defined above) or the packaging sold with the food substance which is found discarded onto "public streets". Therefore, triangular sandwich packaging, drinks cartons and confectionery wrappings are fast food litter, as are burgers, chicken products, potato chips and their containers. Fast food waste is defined as ‘any waste from an outlet that sells fast food (as defined above)’. Fast food waste only becomes a problem if it is not managed, stored, or disposed of correctly and becomes litter.

How does the Voluntary Code work?
The Voluntary Code provides a framework for businesses to firstly identify how, when and where their worst litter problems arise, and secondly to work out the best ways in partnership with other agencies to solve these issues. Solutions could be as simple as putting posters up in windows to discourage customers from littering, storing waste correctly, and keeping the premises and surrounding area clean.

Keeping the premises and surrounding area clean is likely to be best achieved by organising staff to periodically litter pick/collect litter during opening hours. Some businesses prefer to work with the council to have additional litter bins installed in the immediate vicinity. Some businesses are also sponsoring the new generation of solar powered compacting litter bins and having these sited in the vicinity of the business and then potentially using the bin for business advertising.

Research shows that the best way of achieving the above is to channel sufficient time and resources into public education; and reducing packaging, waste and litter.

The Voluntary Code is designed to help businesses, local authorities and other public and private bodies to reduce the incidence of outdoor food and drink litter, and waste that becomes litter, in the local environment. It will closely complement the Government’s commitment to develop measures to improve the quality of public space and local environments, but will also support the legal principal that the ‘polluter pay’ in relation to any kind of waste pollution.

We will look to actively support and promote through the City Council’s website all business that signs up to the Voluntary Code.

If you would like more information on Street Litter Control Notices or the Voluntary Code then contact us