CAMPAIGNERS in Dorchester are urging authorities to take stronger action against litterers by enforcing existing legislation in the county town.

The call for action has come after the Dorset Waste Partnership admitted it didn’t issue a single fixed penalty notice in Dorchester last year, and has yet to do so this year.

Bob Kerr and Felicity McLaren, from the Dorchester Stop the Drop anti-litter campaign, said litter problems in the area were continuing to be overlooked and offenders weren’t being held accountable.

Both claimed litter was becoming increasingly noticeable in Fairfield car park, Charles Street, the skate park and on the approach to train stations.

Bob said: “I think it's disgraceful that we don't enforce any litter legislation in any shape or form.

"We find ourselves having to remind the authorities about the issues that need to be dealt with.

“People are still dropping food trays and bits of food here and there and we will always have a gull problem as long as people do that.

“The sad thing is we have so many younger people who are dropping litter too.

“People don't grow up out of it because it is adults who are also dropping litter.

“You see a sign for dog mess now and again with the fine that's possible but not for littering.”

Bob said Magna Housing Group had come to the group offering ways to help, but they were keen for other organisations to get involved.

He said: “We want to get as many organisations supporting us as possible.”

Felicity said: “I've been to other towns around the country where they obviously make more of an effort and it's noticeable that the place is clean.

“Legislation is passed for a very good reason, not just for giving people something to do.”

The Environmental Protection Act in 1990 meant it was a criminal offence for a person to drop and leave an item as litter.

This act was updated and amended by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act in 2005 to make clear the term ‘litter’ included smoking related items and other items such as chewing gum.

As part of the 2005 act, it was included that a principal litter authority could specify the amount of a fixed penalty to be applied for a littering offence. Where an amount isn’t specified, the amount will be at £75.

This act also meant the offence of littering applied to all places that are open to the air, including both private and public land.

West Dorset District Council used to have a litter enforcer role but this was transferred to Dorset Waste Partnership.

Paul Pendray, enforcement officer at Dorset Waste Partnership, said: “We didn't issue any fixed penalties (FPN) in Dorchester last year, and none so far this year although we have issued them elsewhere in the district.

“The Dorset Waste Partnership has no specific 'litter enforcement officer' role and has two enforcement officers to cover the Dorset Waste Partnership area.

“If one of us sees someone litter, we will always approach the person and ask for their details to issue a fixed penalty.


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