For some, it means nuisance neighbours, graffiti or rowdy children in the street. But anti-social behaviour can also include the fouling of our streets through random acts of carelessness and neglect, like spitting, fly-tipping or even urination.
Our Environmental Crime Scrutiny Commission found that “enviro-crimes” like these were on the rise and had become one of the top concerns of Lambeth residents. The Commission found that the full cost of Lambeth’s street cleansing service in 2013/14 was over £7 million – much of it costs associated with litter, fly-tipping and dog-fouling. We need to control these costs and keep our streets clean – in everyone’s insterests. The Council has introduced stiff financial penalties for offenders – and it is asking all residents to ‘Do the Right Thing’ and help keep the streets clean for everyone.
Litter has been described as “the most significant low-level environmental crime affecting the UK”, and clearing it up costs councils in England over £700 million every year. Last year, a survey by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), showed that those who live in the poorest places in England tend to have the dirtiest streets. Our own State of the Borough report points out that Lambeth is ranked as the 8th most deprived borough in London and the 14th most deprived in England.
But Lambeth residents will not tolerate “enviro-crime” on our streets. Under new powers introduced last year, officers can issue fines for anybody in Lambeth seen damaging the environment by spitting or urinating in the street, failing to clear up after their dog, fly-tipping or littering. The Council is now warning people that anti-social behaviour on the borough’s streets will be met with on-the-spot fines of up to £80.
Lambeth’s cabinet member for Environment and Sustainability, Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, said: “Our ‘ Do the Right Thing’ campaign encourages residents to act in a responsible way to help make Lambeth a clean, pleasant and safe place to live a work.
“While the majority of residents already do this, a small minority are damaging the borough, polluting the streets, causing offence and costing the council valuable resources. We are now saying; ‘Not on our streets’.
“These on-the-spot fines will make offenders think twice about doing it again and protect our streets for our responsible residents.”
Last year Lambeth’s council officers issued nearly a thousand Fixed Penalty Notices for antisocial behaviour, with almost half of those for littering. In October, the Council issued its first FPN for spitting under current anti-littering legislation, resulting in a £120 fine after the case went to court.