A zero tolerance approach, higher fines and better enforcement is the best way to deal with those littering our streets and public areas.
That’s the cross-party view of Glenrothes councillors who admitted lots of work still needed to be done if they were to bring about a “sizemic change in public behaviour” that would result in cleaner streets.
The comments came as Glenrothes Area Committee was briefed about Fife Council’s current efforts in tackling the problem of litter.
Councillor John Wincott, who said those who littered showed “a lack of pride, self-awareness and manners” in areas they lived and said the Fife authority should keep searching for a worldwide solution in their fight against a “tide of litter”.
“I prefer to see best practice from the likes of Denmark or Sweden,” he added.
“If there is anyone in the UK or worldwide that has got a way of making sure that people don’t drop litter that works then we want it here in Glenrothes.”
Mark McCall, Fife Council’s service manager for safer communities told councillors that around six hours of foot patrols were conducted in the town every day and that the number of officers with powers to issue fixed penalty notices had been increased from 12 to 36.
In 2015/16 there were 132 littering complaints for the Glenrothes area from a total of around 800 for the whole of Fife.
While councillors agreed that the there was no particular problem for Glenrothes when compared to other large towns in Fife, there was a number of known hotspots that caused problems for residents living in those areas.
The positioning of bins, the frequency of collection and emptying and better policing and enforcement were also discussed.
And the responsibility of fast food outlets should also be made a priority going forward, said a number of councillors.
Cllr John Beare, who said he found 39 instances of litter relating to one restaurant chain in just a 400 metre walk , said that legislative change was needed as well as more liaison between council officers and fast food operators to ensure more was being done to reduce customers from littering.
Supporting a drive for the town to do more collectively was councillor Ross Vettraino who called those who litter “environmental vandals”.
“We need tougher fines if we are to change attitudes, “ said Mr Vettraino.
“We must have better education for children from day one if they are to respond to their environmental responsibilities.
“Enforcement is the answer but instead we are spending money on campaigns.
“ I keep my car taxed and insured because I want to do the right thing and not face being fined.
“We need tougher penalties if we are to change the mindset, this needs to be done on a larger scale that just area committee if we are to tackle the issue properly.
“However we can all do more locally too.”