Sunderland residents will soon be charged £75 for failing to put their bins out correctly under a new policy backed by council bosses.
This week, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet endorsed a three-year Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which aims to crack down on public nuisance and anti-social behaviour.
While a city centre order was passed last April, new powers will cover all Sunderland’s open spaces, from parks to shopping centres.
The order will replace current controls on drinking alcohol and using psychoactive substances in public places alongside dog control orders and restrictions on street trading and peddling.
But following public concerns about littering and waste dumping, an additional control around waste management was added, allowing fines to be issued under Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act (1990).
This will apply to people “failing to present household waste for collection in the manner prescribed by the waste collection authority”.
Anyone flouting the rules could be given a warning, with a penalty charge notice of £75 possible for repeat offenders.
Deputy council leader Coun Michael Mordey, speaking at Sunderland Civic Centre, said the measures reflected the council’s “strong commitment to enforcement”.
The meeting heard the new powers would also allow the authority to “engage and educate” people about waste collection.
Speaking after the meeting, Coun Mordey explained further: “The council committed over 18 months ago to step up our enforcement actions, and the city-wide PSPO is a continuation of this tougher approach.
“As a listening council, and I hear it myself time and time again as a ward councillor, the prohibitions within the protection order are all issues regularly raised by residents.
“And so this is why we are introducing and updating what we can do.
“When it comes to household waste and recycling, we should all know that we have a responsibility to our neighbours to present our waste and recycling in an appropriate and timely way.
“This means not throwing it out at any time of the day or week, and it means using your bins properly.
“The order updates our ability to engage and educate the minority of residents who aren’t thinking of their neighbours. And, if necessary, we will issue penalties.”
WHAT IS A PUBLIC SPACES PROTECTION ORDER?
The PSPO is jointly enforced with Northumbria Police, with officers having the option to give appropriate advice, formal warnings to stop and desist, or the issuing of a £75 Fixed Penalty Notice.
A city-wide order covers:
Alcohol Control – police and authorised officers have the power to confiscate alcohol in a public space (excluding licensed premises), where they believe it is causing or is likely to cause anti-social behaviour.
Street Trading and Peddling – restricts any person engaging in anti-social/nuisance behaviour whilst street trading.
Dog Control – prohibit dog fouling, exclusion of dogs to play areas and dogs on lead by direction
Psychoactive Substances – restricts the use of psychoactive substances in a public place.
Waste Management – Failing to present household waste for collection in the manner prescribed by the waste collection authority.
The order can apply to tenants, homeowners and landlords, and requires all household waste to be placed in council bins correctly.
A report adds that penalties can be avoided if evidence is provided that the person “took all such steps as were reasonably available” to dispose of the waste correctly.
While bin offences are classed as littering, instances of fly-tipping can lead to higher fines.
Coun Mordey added: “Our central area PSPO has proved successful in helping to curb some of the issues faced in and around the city centre, with only a small number of penalty notices having to be issued because the initial warning did not have the desired impact.
“This update for the whole city, which is aimed at those who fail to present household waste for collection in the correct manner, is about engaging, educating and, if necessary, enforcing.
“I am confident, because it does not and will not affect most people, this order will be welcomed. We all want to live in a cleaner Sunderland.”
A date is yet to be announced for the order to go ‘live’.
* For the past few months the Echo has been running its Clean Streets campaign, prompted by our Big City survey, where 66 per cent of readers said they felt cleanliness of our public places is poor or very poor.
We want to hear about litter or rubbish blackspots, so we can highlight them and bring them to th attenion of the auorities.
And we want to hear about the good work being done on clean-up projects by businesses, schools and community groups.
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Chris Binding, Local Democracy Reporting Service