Harsher fines planned for dirty drivers after 200 tonnes of rubbish dumped on Hartlepool roadsides

Discarded litter on Catcote Road, Hartlepool.  Picture by Frank Reid.
Discarded litter on Catcote Road, Hartlepool. Picture by Frank Reid.

Council chiefs are set to impose new fines for litter louts who throw a total of 200 tonnes of rubbish from their vehicles a year.

Hartlepool Borough Council says it collects around 200 tonnes of litter a year from roadsides – the same as 200 households dumping their wheelie bins into the street every week.

Tony Hanson

Tony Hanson

New legislation allows local authorities to issue fines through the post to the registered keeper of the vehicles where rubbish has been seen to be thrown from it.

Previously, it has been up to authorities to prove who was responsible for littering from vehicles which meant prosecuting offenders was difficult.

A report of Tony Hanson, the council’s Assistant Director (Environment and Neighbourhood Services), states: “Litter on the roadside causes problems in terms of its detrimental visual appearance and blights on the town, while it also has a damaging and harmful effect on the natural environment.”

The council says it routinely picks up litter but to do so on major and busy roads can mean significant extra time and resources because of the need to put traffic management controls in place.

Discarded litter in Elwick Road, Hartlepool.

Discarded litter in Elwick Road, Hartlepool.

It adds it gets around 750 complaints about roadside litter a year.

The report added: “The current tonnage of waste collected by the Council in responding to this irresponsible activity is approximately 200 tonnes per year or the same as 200 households tipping out their wheelie bins onto the streets every week.

“This also costs the council over £50,000 to collect and dispose of the litter, which is funding that could otherwise be utilised to help protect front-line services that are valuable to our communities.”

On Wednesday, the council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, will consider what level to set the new penalty charges at.

They are recommended to be between £75, discounted to £50 if paid within seven days, and £150 reduced to £100 for early payment.

Income from the fines will only be allowed to be spent on council functions relating to litter, refuse and supporting enforcement.

The council report added: “Enforcement of the new legislation will therefore enhance the road gateways into Hartlepool and assist with the long-term aims and objectives of keeping the town clean.”

The meeting takes place at Hartlepool Civic Centre and starts at 4pm.

It is open to the public.