David McCann Thu 22 Dec 2022
Littering and dog fouling fixed penalty notices are set to increase across Northern Ireland under new regulations introduced by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
Taking effect from 30 December 2022, the maximum penalties for offenders will rise to £200, more than double the existing fine of £80 for both pollution issues.
Dave Foster, Director of DAERA’s Natural Environment Policy Division commented; “In Northern Ireland we are very fortunate to have some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world. However, the scourge of litter is harming our precious environment and dog fouling is something most of us will have seen far too often in our local areas.
“This new measure to increase the maximum fixed penalty for littering and dog fouling offences from £80 to £200 will help us achieve our draft Environment Strategy goal to create cleaner communities with less litter by 2030. We all have our part to play and I would like to thank everyone who has removed litter from our environment and would encourage everyone not to litter.”
Welcoming the increased penalties, Dr Ian Humphreys, CEO of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said, “In times when the cost of living is going through the roof this is one unwanted cost we will all want to avoid. Putting litter in the bin is simple and can now save you a hefty fine and a possible criminal record.”
The increase fines deliver on a target set out in the DAERA-led draft Environment Strategy that aims to create cleaner communities with less litter by 2030. The strategy also aspires to bring about a societal behavioural shift, including making littering socially unacceptable by 2035.
In their Cleaner Neighbourhood Reports 2021/22, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful reported that 2,052 fixed penalty notices were handed out by local councils for littering behaviour in the years 2019/2020. A further 279 fines were issued for dog fouling. The charity estimates that a total of £31,390,472 was spent on street cleaning across Northern Ireland in the same period.
Outside of the cost to the public purse, the dual problems pose significant threats to human and animal health, with dog fouling potentially leading to toxocariasis or blindness, while plastic littering risks ingestion from wildlife that can work its way up the food chain.