Return of Pendle's controversial 'litter police'
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Pendle Council's employment of private company District Enforcement has split opinion in the borough over the last year with claims that litter enforcers had been unfairly targeting cigarette smokers, actions which nearly led to a cancellation of its contract.
However, in February Tory and Labour members on the council made the unusual step in voting together to extend the company's contract for another 12 months, depsite strong opposition from the Liberal Democrat group.
Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Council, said: "They will play an important part in encouraging local people to keep Pendle free of the blight of litter and dog mess. This is a priority for residents."
As well as enforcement, District Enforcers will be starting a new programme of activity and education to engage with local people on this problem, in a bid to create a litter-free culture.
The uniformed enforcers will be patrolling seven days a week in all areas of Pendle, including problem hotspots and green spaces such as parks and sports pitches.
The council's Environmental Services manager, David Walker, said: "During the first two weeks of patrols they will be issuing warnings rather than Fixed Penalty Notices to anyone caught dropping litter.
“They will still be issuing £100 Fixed Penalty Notices to people who don’t clean up after their dogs. Anyone who doesn’t pay within 14 days risks going to court and paying a much higher fine."
From Monday, District Enforcers will be issuing Fixed Penalty Notices for all offences including £150 for littering, including throwing litter from a vehicle.
“If you don't pay, you might have to go to court. The biggest fine that the court can give is £2,500," warned Mr Walker.
Residents can report littering and dog fouling and other environmental crimes via Pendle Council’s website: www.pendle.gov.uk/doitonline
Coun. Iqbal added: “District Enforcement’s return allows us more time to investigate other environmental crimes such as fly-tipping. The Enforcers will be spending more time talking to people about the problems of littering and dog fouling as part of a broader approach which isn’t just about fining the culprits."
The new plan of action includes handing out leaflets in dog exclusion and playground areas and helping out with community litter picking sessions.Warren Hodgson from District Enforcement said: “Our enforcers will have a visible presence in town centres and areas where there are a lot of people out walking – such as Pendle’s parks.”
District Enforcement will report to Pendle Council daily on the areas they have covered and warnings and Fixed Penalty Notices given.