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Litter is one of the 22 priorities on which residents are asked to vote in our Quarterly Surveys. There’s no doubt that residents view it as a matter for concern: in the February 2019 survey, it was the #3 concern of residents of Chesham and the Missendens, and the sixth overall.

The Forum’s surveys seek to identify areas of concern. These are used to enable decisions to be taken on Neighbourhood Policing priorities, and also to identify and provide information on how individuals and the community can play their part in helping improve matters.

For one Quarter in 2018 Littering was selected as one of the three priorities, when a particularly strong representation was made by one Chiltern area. This may happen again, but Littering is an area in which the Forum can make a consistent impact by helping members of the community understand how to react to littering, and play their part in maintaining a cleaner local environment.

What is ‘Littering’?

Broadly, concerns boil down to two main aspects:

  • Fly Tipping.
  • More general littering, including from windows of cars. This might also be seen as a part of anti-social behaviour.

Fly Tipping – how we can fight back

Fly tipping is a scourge, and with depressing frequency we see or hear of piles of rubbish being dumped, obstructing roads, creating environmental damage, and hazards for wildlife as well as people. It is a crime, punishable by a fine of up to £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates’ Court. The offence can attract an unlimited fine and up to 5 years imprisonment if convicted in a Crown Court. (Update: we are informed by BucksFlyTipping that unlimited fines are also now possible at Magistrates’ Courts – depending on the circumstances of the offence, the offender’s ability to pay and the guidance of the Sentencing Council.)

Reporting Fly Tipping: Fly tipping can be reported to Bucks CC through ‘Fix My Street’:

Please see also our post regarding Clearwaste, an app and website trough which you can report flytipping, and also search for a registered waste carrier.

There are several reasons to make a report. First, Bucks CC has a good record on successful prosecution: on average more than one fly-tipper is caught and convicted every week in Buckinghamshire. Since the launch of The Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire campaign against fly-tipping – ‘Illegal Dumping Costs’ – in 2003, fly-tipping across the county has more than halved.

Waste Committee for Buckinghamshire: Enforcement Policy in respect of Fly-tipping and ancillary offences

Secondly, where rubbish is allowed to lie uncleared, it attracts more fly-tipping, exacerbating the problem. So residents are encouraged to report promptly.

And the costs of clearing flytipping are expensive, falling on council taxpayers.

Read an account published by The National Rural Crime Network, in its ‘Best Practice’ section, of the work in Buckinghamshire to address fly tipping.

Remove or dispose of your own waste responsibly: since the introduction of a unitary Council, Buckinghamshire Council is responsible both for collecting household waste material, and its disposal.

Buckinghamshire Council operates household recycling centres in 9 locations. Within Chiltern, these are at Chesham (Latimer Road HP5 1TL, open 5 days a week, closed Wednesdays & Thursdays), and at Amersham (open 7 days a week, London Road East HP7 9DT) – more details here. Charges are now made for non-household waste, but there is no charge for a broad spread of waste types.

categories for recycling charging bucks cc

Full list of non-household waste charges from 1 April 2019

Buckinghamshire Council also offers a bulky waste collection service for larger items or kerbside waste and recycling centres for things like glass, paper and plastic bottles.

Check the status of contractors removing your waste: Everyone has a legal ‘duty of care’ to ensure their household or business waste is disposed of correctly. If you fail to do this, you can be prosecuted even if your waste is fly tipped by someone else on your behalf.

Buckinghamshire Council’s S.C.R.A.P. campaign (‘Suspect-Check-Refuse-Ask-Paperwork’) sets out checks that householders and businesses can make to ensure that they are compliant.

You can find a registered waste carrier, or check the status of a carrier, in your area on the Environment Agency’s website.

Community Clear-up Schemes

Many parish councils and community groups organise periodic litter picking schemes. Not only do these leave neighbourhoods cleaner and tidier, but we can hope that the example helps raise awareness and instil some community pride.

Such schemes, sometimes as part of a wider national effort such as Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean are quite widely advertised locally and in social media.

Buckinghamshire Council can provide support for community groups who wish to run clean up events. They can loan litter pickers, provide rubbish sacks and provide a collection of the waste / recycling picked. More information…

And Finally…

A humorous take on litter and fly tipping (NB some semi-offensive content)

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