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Glasgow City Council

Fixed Penalty Notice Frequently Asked Questions

Why are Fixed Penalty Notices issued for littering?

Glasgow City Council delivers a zero tolerance approach to littering in line with the duties and authority provided under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA). The EPA is a national legislation that is enforced across the United Kingdom by many local authorities. The enforcement action for littering on behalf of Glasgow City Council is delivered through our Community Enforcement Officers (CEOs). Under Section 87 (1) of the Act, an offence for littering is defined as:

If a person throws down, drops or otherwise deposits in, into or from any place to which this section applies and leaves any thing whatsoever in such circumstances as to cause, or contribute to, or tend to lead to, the defacements by litter of any place to which this section applies is guilty of an offence.

Why is the penalty for littering so high?

The £80 penalty is applied in line with the Scottish Government's national guidance. The amount reflects the impact and cost of littering across Scotland.

Why do officers ask for my details and identification?

Under Section 88 of the Environmental Protection Act, when a Community Enforcement Officers (CEOs) observes someone committing a littering offence, they are required to issue that person with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). As part of the FPN process the CEOS are required to get that individual's details to complete the FPN form. As it is a legal document, the CEOS are instructed to request identification in order to validate the person's identity and details. The identification shown to the CEO can be whatever the individual has to hand and is comfortable providing (it could be a bank card or ID badge for example), but it must show their name and details.

Am I legally obliged to give my identification? 

Community Enforcement Officers (CEOs) are authorised to enforce the law in relation to the Environmental Protection Act and the Dog Fouling Scotland Act. Part of the legislation that the CEOs enforce makes it a further offence to refuse to provide details to an authorised officer (in this case a Community Safety Glasgow CEO). You are legally obliged to give your correct details but you are not legally required to provide identification. However, identification is requested to verify an individual's identity and prevent someone from using another persons name and details, which would be a secondary offence.

What if I refuse to give my details? 

As littering and dog fouling are offences, Community Enforcement Officers (CEOs) are required to complete and issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for these offences. If you refuse to provide your details, CEOs are instructed to contact our partner agency Police Scotland to ask for assistance. A Police Officer will attend to obtain the required details and identification needed for the FPN. The FPN will then be completed and issued to you.If an FPN can't be issued for the offence, the circumstances can be reported to the Procurator Fiscal. This could result in a criminal record for failing to provide your details.

What if I give false details or someone else's name? 

Under the Environmental Protection Act giving false details is a second offence, in addition to the offence of littering or dog fouling. In cases like this, Community Safety Glasgow would provide Police Scotland with a copy of the body camera footage taken by Community Enforcement Officers (CEOs) when they were issuing the Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). This would support an investigation to identify which individual was actually given the FPN and appropriate action would be taken in relation to both offences.

Why did the officers not give me the opportunity to pick my litter up? 

Glasgow has a zero tolerance to litter. There's also no requirement within the Environmental Protection Act for Community Enforcement Officers give the opportunity to or request that the litter be picked up after the offence has been committed. Picking up the litter after you have littered would not cancel out the offence or the requirement to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Other people nearby were smoking/dropping their cigarette ends/littering/dog fouling why did the officers only pick on me? I feel I was targeted

Community Enforcement Officers (CEOs) act fairly and their actions are based on their observations. Personal information is gathered during the process of issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice and so the CEOs can only deal with one situation at a time.

There were no bins available nearby

There are a sufficient number of bins located throughout Glasgow. Where no bin is within eyesight, there is a moral expectation placed on people to retain their litter or dog waste until a bin is found.

I placed my cigarette end on a bollard that looked like an ashtray. There were other cigarettes on it so why did I get a Fixed Penalty Notice?

Some security bollards and street furniture are incorrectly used as ashtrays. The presence of other litter already on the bollard or furniture does not cancel out the offence of littering. It is still an offence under the Environmental Protection Act.

I'm not from Glasgow and I didn't know it was an offence to drop litter; it isn't an offence where I come from 

The Environmental Protection Act makes it an offence to drop litter in any part of the UK. Many (but not all) council areas, parishes or boroughs choose to enforce this law and it is enforced in Glasgow. Many cities, not just in the UK but throughout the world, impose penalties for dropping litter.

I didn't see any signs warning me that it is an offence to drop litter

There is an expectation that individuals should dispose of their litter in a bin. There is no requirement within the Environmental Protection Act that requires a council to put up warning signs.

I didn't know that my dog had defecated

There is an expectation that the person responsible for a dog or dogs is mindful at all times of their where about and activities. This expectation is reflected under Section 3(b) of the Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003 where it states that 'being unaware of the defecation (whether by reason of not being in the vicinity or otherwise), or not having a device for or other suitable means of removing the faeces, shall not be a reasonable excuse for failing to remove the faeces'. As such, not being aware your dog has fouled is still an offence.

What happens if I don't pay the Fixed Penalty Notice fine? 

Where an individual disputes the validity of an FPN, the Act provides an opportunity for a review through a Court Hearing. Details on how to request a Court Hearing are noted on the FPN itself. The FPN must be ticked and signed accordingly before it is returned to the address noted on it within 28 days of the FPN date of issue. The Court Hearing would enable the recipient of an FPN to put forward his/her evidence as to the offence and why the FPN should not have been issued. Where a Court Hearing finds in favour of your defence, the FPN will voided accordingly. However, should the FPN be upheld, you may be subject to additional costs and have a criminal record.

Can I appeal against being issued with the Notice? 

There are no grounds for appeal with Glasgow City Council. However, as paying the £80 fixed penalty provides you with the opportunity to avoid prosecution for the offence, any dispute over guilt must be settled in a court of law. If you wish to dispute the offence, you have the opportunity to do so through non-payment of the FPN. Unpaid FPNs may be referred to the Procurator Fiscal who will take the appropriate legal action as defined by the Environmental Protection Act. This may include calling a court hearing to hear the evidence from both sides. Where the FPN is upheld by the court, you may receive an increased penalty and a conviction. Where the offence is not upheld, the FPN will be voided by the court with no further action against you.

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