Enforcement officers are set to tackle litter on the streets of Bath and North East Somerset following the award of a new Environmental Crime and Enforcement contract to company 3GS.
From 1st March, litter and dog fouling enforcement officers will work across Bath and North East Somerset and will issue Fixed Penalty Notices to people who deliberately litter streets, parks and public places.
The uniformed officers will also prioritise education and prevention, to help people understand that littering is a criminal offence and will not be accepted in Bath and North East Somerset.
Under the 12-month agreement, which is at zero cost to the council, 3GS enforcement officers will work from 7am to 7pm seven days a week.
It is operating a fixed fee model, which will limit what 3GS can earn from the enforcement contract. Any funds received above cost will be passed on to the council or used by 3GS for education and promotional purposes.
3GS, working in collaboration with B&NES council, says it will invest in a promotional campaigns such as billboard advertising to promote good conduct and warn of the implications of littering.
3GS also runs reward schemes for good practice, issuing retail tokens to members of the public who are observed to have gone above and beyond the call of duty in terms of keeping Bath and North East Somerset a clean and tidy place to live.
Furthermore, 3GS will accumulate a corporate social responsibility fund from the contract to be spent on targeted campaigns. Every £1 3GS spends on such campaigns will be matched by the anti-littering charity Hubub up to the value of £25,000.
Councillor Bob Goodman said: “We want to be firm but fair and we have been assured by 3GS that the enforcement officers will be proportionate in the way they go about this task.
“However the message is clear, please don’t drop litter and dump waste otherwise you risk a hefty Fixed Penalty Fine.
“Bath and North East Somerset is a truly beautiful place and it both frustrates and saddens me when I see litter dumped in our streets, parks and in public places at considerable cost to the council.
“I hope this scheme will act both as a deterrent as well as educate people about littering and dog fouling and the cost it has not just to the council but to the environment that we all share.
“Thinking back to last summer’s heatwave our parks and green spaces were almost daily left in an awful mess by some people having picnics and leaving all their waste behind. It was horrible to see.
“It isn’t difficult to find a bin and dispose of your rubbish and if the bin is full then the message is take your rubbish home and recycle it or put it in the general waste.
“This pilot scheme with enforcement officers will be monitored carefully, and we will listen to local views and do what’s best to keep our area clean and tidy at no extra cost to the council.”
Martin Jerrold, 3GS managing director, said: “3GS acts as a proportionate enforcer, meaning that fixed penalty notices (FPN’s) are issued based on need. Our aim is to reduce environmental crime for the long-term; and our enforcement officers will patrol and issue FPN’s to reduce street offences such as littering and dog-fouling.
“We will promote positive anti-littering campaigns throughout the community highlighting the threat, harm and risk of littering to remind people about the penalty it attracts for doing so.”
Last July the council adopted the maximum £150 Fixed Penalty Notice FPN for dropping litter, including cigarette ends and people, caught on camera, throwing litter from vehicles. Anyone caught fly-tipping in the area can be issued with a FPN up to £400.
Speaking about the award of the enforcement contract, Lib Dem spokesperson on Neighbourhood Services, Councillor Richard Samuel (Walcot), commented: “Anti-litter contractors have a reputation for routinely going after ‘soft targets’, such as foreign visitors, students, and smokers, particularly vulnerable people.
“We challenged the Conservatives’ original proposal last year, when it emerged that almost all fines handed out in a similar scheme in Bristol went to smokers for dropping a single butt.
“Going forwards, we will be pressing for transparency around the work of this company, including the number of fines handed out, the variety of offences and the reduction in volumes of litter.
“The Lib Dems are in favour of the Council tackling anti-social littering and dog fouling, but we do not believe using a private company is the right way to approach this.”