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Lack of action against litter in Sussex
Litterbugs are dodging fines because of a postcode lottery for punishment.
While some Sussex councils are issuing a fine almost every other day, others have not issued a fine for more than a year.
Crawley and Eastbourne are the crackdown kings, handing out 266 of the 314 fines issued throughout the county in the last financial year.
But six councils failed to issue a single litter fine last year while Brighton and Hove City Council issued just two – a drop from 45 issued in 2005/6.
Brighton and Hove has 24 officers with the powers to issue fines while Arun District Council has 32 officers who didn’t issue a fine between them last year, according to research carried out by campaign group the Manifesto Club.
In total the number of litter fines issued has increased across the county by 54% in the last six years, with £25,000 worth of fines issued in 2011/12.
Council officials have the power to issue fixed penalty notices of £80 to anyone caught littering and individuals can be taken to court if they don’t pay within 14 days.
Crawley Borough Council took 54 residents to court for non-payment of litter fines in 2011/12 with offenders incurring fines of between £25 and £100 plus victims’ surcharge and costs.
A spokeswoman said: “We endeavour to keep our streets clean and tidy and littering is taken very seriously. Those who create the problem can expect to contribute towards fixing it.”
An Arun District Council spokeswoman said the number of staff able to issue litter fines had reduced in the last year because new contracts for car park officers meant they no longer could issue fines.
She added: “We have some of the cleanest streets in the country according to national litter surveys but we are aware that there are a minority of people who refuse to dispose of their litter responsibly in the many bins we provide around the district.
“We always encourage people to use the bins provided around the district and to dispose of their litter responsibly.”
Steve Wallis, Eastbourne Borough Council’s member for the environment, said: “I make no apology for the high levels of fines handed out |to those who are prepared to spoil the local environment by dropping litter.
“It surprises me that other towns don’t operate with the same zero tolerance approach as we do in Eastbourne.
“Litter bugs are not welcome in our town.”
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