Tackling the problem of Doncaster borough’s litter bugs
As Doncaster Council litter bosses issue big fines for dumping rubbish throughout the town we ask our guest panellists: Is a fine for dropping litter of £150 too little or too much? Here’s what they had to say.
Hatfield Councillor, Mick Glynn says: “In terms of discarding rubbish I suppose it depends on the way you are brought up. For example, I always put sweet wrappers in my pocket and any rubbish I have I usually wait until I get home before putting it all in the dustbin.
“It’s all about having some self discipline. It’s easy just to throw something aside, but then that leads to rubbish just piling up. I was always brought up to believe that you leave something as tidy as you found it.
“It’s just laziness to throw rubbish down and leave it for someone else to clean up. It also seems that tidiness and how to discard rubbish responsibly isn’t a message that is taught too much in schools these days. There used to be such campaigns as Keep Britain Tidy, but sadly no longer.”
Hatfield Councillor, Bill Mossison, said: “If it’s a first time offence and you get a huge fine this may be unfair, but if you keep re-offending then there should be a sliding scale where fines get bigger depending on how many times you have been fined for dumping rubbish.”
He added: “If you re-offend for the third time then £150 is a reasonable fine. However, there are times when bins are overflowing in the town centre and if you have a cigarette butt and there’s nowhere to put it then you may end up throwing it on the ground.
“That could lead to a fine, but you do that because there’s nowhere to put the cigarette butt. In those circumstances the council should provide more bins and make them highly visible.
“Also money collected from fines should be used to prevent littering – I wonder if that is the case? I fear the money from fines goes into one council pot that’s wrong.”
Former Edlington Mayor, Frank Arrowsmith, said: “I have accused Doncaster Council in the past of picking low hanging fruit – in other words of going for the easy target rather than targeting the big littler offenders.
“I feel there is a danger of this with £150 fines for someone dropping litter in the town centre for example. The council seem very quick to spend money on officers standing outside the railway station for example spotting people throwing down a cigarette butt, but not to put large amounts of money into resolving the large epidemic of fly tipping.
“There seems to be a lack of successful prosecutions for major fly tipping offences, but more success in prosecuting someone dropping a crisp packet on the street in Doncaster. It’s completely out of balance.
“As far as fine for street littering is concerned it should be on a sliding scale of fines.”
Publicity and marketing officer for Doncaster Little Theatre, Yve Robison, said: “I suppose it’s all about how the council enforces the fines and how fairly they do that.
“I would hate to think for example that someone who can’t pay is forced to pay. Perhaps through an accident – for example a child throws rubbish on the ground and a parent who can’t afford to pay is given a heavy fine – that would be unfair.
“I also think it is about giving the proper information on littering and persuading people not to litter through information campaigns. I would feel quite bitter if I received a fine for littering.
“Perhaps a fairer way to punish someone would be for them to do community service where they are made to pick up other people’s litter and then they may see the error of their ways. On the other hand we constantly need to reinforce the message that littering an area is unacceptable.”