Bolton Council is cracking down on litter in the town centre through a combination of education and enforcement.
The council currently spends £2.8m a year keeping the streets of Bolton clean, but a dedicated education and enforcement team is trying to reduce that figure by encouraging residents to be responsible for their own waste.
The council’s primary focus is on educating residents and encouraging them to take responsibility for their own litter. Council officers visit schools and community groups and give talks on the dangers of litter dropping and flytipping. Officers also work with local businesses to educate them about the problems caused by not disposing waste properly and to ensure they have proper contracts in place to dispose of their waste.
Officers also encourage and support community groups and schools to carry out litter picks in their local area and provide litter pickers, tabards and bags to dispose of the waste. Over 120 Big Bolton Tidy Ups involving 3593 volunteers have been carried out since the start of 2011 by local faith and community groups and many of these groups carry out regular tidy ups through the year.
While the council aims to educate residents of the need for a change in attitude and reduce the amount of litter dropped, they have a policy of fining anyone caught dropping litter up to £75 should the message not get through. The council will also prosecute people who refuse to pay these fines.
Over 70 fixed penalty notices have been handed out in the town centre over the last seven months to people who have been caught dropping litter on the ground, rather than putting it in the bin. These fixed penalty notices require a fine to be paid of £75. Also 9 people have been taken to court for refusal to pay the fines and were handed out much higher fines of between £100 and £350.
Cllr Nick Peel, Executive Cabinet Member for Environment said: “Litter is still a major problem in most town centres. We know that the majority of residents and visitors do not drop litter, but for those who do, we use a combination of education, backed up by enforcement to encourage people to be responsible for their own waste.
We hope to educate residents and encourage them to keep Bolton clean and take ownership of their street, their town and their borough.”