Fifers face £100 fine for dropping litter

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Litter bugs in Fife could soon be faced with a £100 fine after councillors supported a a Scottish Parliament bid to hike the penalties.

In a motion to Fife Council, Councillor Andy Heer, Conservative for Howe of Fife and Tay Coast, led backing for a bid to raise fines from the current £80.

He said: “Litter is a blight on our towns and countryside.

“Increasing the fine will not stop people littering right away. We need to educate people, we need to look at better ways of administering the fines, we need easier payment methods – it’s not the end of the story, but I do believe that we need to write in support of increasing the fine.”

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He was backed by Conservative councillor Dominic Nolan, who said: “It would make more people aware of how hefty the fine is.”

SNP councillor Ross Vettraino proposed an addition to the motion,that the council look for a more appropriate way to address the issue on a wider range of actions to stop littering.

He said:: “The amount of littering taking place in Fife, is such that identifying a meaningful percentage of those who do so, is not at all possible given the limited resources that local authorities can afford to devote to the task.

“If the perpetrators can not be identified, then a fixed penalty notice can’t be issued. As a consequence, a significant and meaningful reduction in littering can not be achieved solely by increasing the penalty for being caught doing so.”

Councillor Tim Brett said he was happy to support the amendment, saying it was “the right and sensible way forward.”

He added: “I would hope that when the report comes to the  committee, they would also look at the number of fines levied, as they have dropped by a third in the last year. We are only issuing fines at roughly two a week and for me, that is something we should ask our officers to look into. It seems to me that if there is a good chance you will be detected, that is one of the best deterrents.”

SNP councillor Lesley Backhouse said: “We spend around £800,000 picking up litter around our schools, so we need to include education in our schools about picking up litter.”