East Hampshire District Council has been shortlisted for a national award after launching a partnership to cut litter on the streets and in open areas.
EHDC’s innovative, wholly-owned litter enforcement company is working with seven other councils to help keep their neighbourhoods clean and litter-free at no cost to the public.
The service has been short-listed by the Local Government Chronicle Awards 2020 for public authority partnerships. The winner will be announced in March.
Responding to residents’ persistent concerns about littering and dog-fouling, EHDC launched EH Commercial Services Ltd, known as EH, to improve the environment through ethical litter enforcement.
The service aims to run on a cost-neutral basis, with any surplus being ploughed back into our environmental services. EH’s public service-ethos sets it apart from private litter enforcement companies that are motivated primarily by profit.
Chris Bradley, Head of Commercial Development at East Hampshire District Council, said: “We understand the negative impact littering and dog fouling can have on communities, businesses and the environment.
“We were not happy with profit-driven private sector enforcement companies, so we decided to try something different and ensure any money received is returned to the public purse.
“Including EHDC and Havant Borough Council, eight councils have signed up to the partnership, receiving an ethical high-quality service at minimal cost.
“Litter is not an easy issue to tackle so we are delighted to see our work has been recognised with the award shortlisting.”
By far the highest proportion of litter dropped in the UK is cigarette butts, making up more than half of litter dropped. Cigarette butts are highly toxic to wildlife and are often washed through drains into waterways where they release poisons such as arsenic, lead and nicotine. They take decades to break down and when in soil seriously reduce the growth of surrounding plants.
As well as helping the local environment, less litter also reduces the costs of street cleaning, which can run into tens of thousands of pounds every year and increase the burden on the tax payer.
EH sends trained enforcement officers to partner council areas who patrol the area and will issue fines for littering or dog-fouling.
Littering is a criminal offence and officers are empowered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to ask for an individual’s address and personal details when issuing a ticket. A failure to provide these details is a separate criminal offence under the act which may be prosecuted in addition to the littering offence. Where details are not given the police will attend the scene to support the enforcement officer, although this can waste valuable police time and resources.