Eric Pickles said it was “ludicrous” that people can currently be fined for putting their rubbish out on the wrong day, failing to recycle or overfilling their bins. Under current rules, council officials can start criminal proceeding resulting in fines of up to £1,000 for ‘household waste offences’.
Mr Pickles is also expected to tackle on-the-spot penalties of up to £80 for waste offences issued by council ‘bin police’. He said new laws will come into force, which will end the “unreasonable” fines currently being imposed on homeowners.
Mr Pickles said on Sunday, “I’m delighted to make the announcement that given the unreasonable nature of these charges we are actually going to legislate. If you put the wrong yoghurt pot in the wrong bin it is ludicrous to fine people.”
Mr Pickles has said he wants families to be rewarded for the amount they recycle, along similar lines to a scheme operated by Conservative controlled Windsor and Maidenhead where thousands of householders get vouchers to spend in local shops or leisure facilities in return for recycling their waste. Under the scheme, households place recycled material into special recycling bins, which are then weighed by refuse lorries using a microchip built into the bin.
Last week Lib Dem run Colchester Borough Council in Essex announced plans to introduce a new computer system to make it easier to fine residents. The council said its fleet of 13 collection lorries would be equipped with a computer system that records how many black bags are left outside each home in the area.
Householders who put out too much rubbish will be visited by a council warden, who will warn them to start recycling glass, paper and plastics. If there has been no improvement within three weeks, the council said homeowners would get a fixed penalty notice of between £60 and £80. If the spot fine was not paid, the council said it could then take people to court, where they would face a fine of up to £1,000.
Last year the Government downgraded the fixed penalty fine from £110 to £80 and promised to stop the “Talibin”