Enforcement is necessary to protect and improve the physical quality of the places in which we live, work, invest and/or visit. Keep Britain Tidy fully supports the use of enforcement measures to improve local environmental quality (LEQ) and reduce anti-social behaviour (ASB). However, enforcement should only be used where it is necessary and as part of a wider campaign to raise awareness of the issues affecting LEQ and provide the public with the means to change their behaviour.
- Over the last ten years, the amount of enforcement used to improve LEQ has increased. However, it has evolved in an ad hoc manner with few formal structures in place to monitor consistency and standards. Keep Britain Tidy would like to see local authorities and other land managers make full and better use of the powers available to them, and believe the following recommendations will go some way towards facilitating this.
- The public to play a greater role in ensuring that local authorities comply with their statutory duty to keep the land free of litter. Members of the public can make an official complaint if a local authority fails to keep land free of litter.
- More partnership working. Government departments, non-government organisations, the police, the Environment Agency, local authorities and other land managers, the voluntary and charity sector are all working to improve LEQ and reduce ASB, and should be co-ordinating their enforcement efforts through partnerships.
- Children and young people to be accountable for their behaviour that detracts from LEQ. Enforcement can be used alongside education to prevent young people from behaving in a way that detracts from LEQ. However, local authorities must recognise that children and young people need to be treated in a different manner to adults that commit a similar offence.
- Enforcement action should only be taken if there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the alleged offender. Keep Britain Tidy does not encourage the issuing of fixed penalty notices if there is insufficient evidence to achieve a prosecution should the case go to court as this can result in the system falling into disrepute.
- Features of a good enforcement system. When setting up an enforcement system, local authorities must consider public awareness campaigns to raise awareness of the issues, training of enforcement officers, standardisation and transparency of procedures.