March 16 2014 Latest news:
Melissa York, Reporter
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Newham Council has issued nearly twice as many litter fines as any other local authority in the UK.
A report by The Manifesto Club, a libertarian campaign group, states the council were the highest earners from the fixed penalties in the UK, pocketing £664,875.
Newham Council dispute the figure claiming their calculations are almost half that amount at £369,255 and they currently have around 50 enforcement officers with powers to issue the penalties while they spend around £11m on street cleaning.
Josie Appleton, author of the report entitled ‘The Corruption of Punishment: How Litter Fines Became a Business’, found through a Freedom of Information request that Newham Council has issued 8,865 litter fines since 2011 - blazing ahead of Enfield Council in second place with 4,491 fines.
She said the £80 fines were “not in the public interest” and were “a money-making operation for cash-strapped local authorities”, noting that the number of litter fines in England has risen from 727 in 1997 to 63,883 in 2011–12.
In an introduction to her report, Josie said: “People are being punished not because of the grievousness of their offence, but because the council wants to issue as many fines as possible.”
A Newham Council spokesperson called the report “misleading”, adding: “We are acting because our residents want us to make this a top priority. We make no apology for tackling littering which is anti-social behaviour.
“We want to change behaviour so that a minority do not spoil a borough that we want everyone to take pride in. We want to make Newham a place where people want to live, work and stay. This means everyone must play their part.”