The litter louts that can spoil the district are set to face £150 fines if they are caught by Canterbury City Council enforcement officers.
Councillors on the Policy and Resources Committee agreed last Wednesday (18 April) to increase fines for fixed penalty notices for littering from £80 to £150 with a reduction to £100 if the offender pays up within 14 days.
The committee also agreed to introduce a new fixed penalty notice where drivers can be held liable for litter thrown from their vehicle whether thrown by a driver or a passenger.
Evidence from CCTV cameras and dash cams will be able to be used as well as reports from members of the public if they are prepared to make a statement.
Leader of Canterbury City Council and Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, Cllr Simon Cook, said: “This is a beautiful place to live in, work in and visit and none of us want it to be spoiled because a small but incredibly lazy minority cannot be bothered to put their rubbish in a bin or take it home with them.
“Clearing up after them costs the council taxpayer thousands of pounds that could be used on other frontline services and sees scores of fantastic volunteers and parish councillors litter picking to look after their corner of the Garden of England. They shouldn’t have to.
“We would rather live in a world where no one litters and our enforcement officers do not have to hand out tickets but we hope a £150 fine will act as a real deterrent. At the end of the day, if you do not want to be hit with a big fine don’t litter.”
As part of its robust approach, Canterbury City Council pursues litter louts all the way to the courts if they do not pay their fines. Last month, four people were ordered to pay a £220 fine and a £22 victim surcharge for littering by magistrates in Canterbury.
The council is also trying to change people’s behaviour when it comes to litter. On 14 February, it launched its Love Where We Live campaign which is designed to persuade people not to drop their litter, let their dog foul without clearing it up, daub graffiti or flytip rubbish.
It is designed to tap into the overwhelming sense of pride of those who live and work in the district and also reminds offenders they will be fined if they are caught.
A key part of the campaign will see council officers engaging with pupils at primary schools to raise awareness of the problems caused by litter and to harness their passion for where they live to encourage others into doing the right thing.