HOUSEHOULDERS suspected of dumping waste in Wirral's alleyways could be hit with an £80 on-the-spot fine under new rules introduced as a part of a clean-up crackdown.
The council has approved a plan to extend and vary its existing "zero tolerance" anti-littering contract with private company Kingdom Ltd to cover enforcement of the illegal dumping of domestic waste.
Councillor Bernie Mooney, cabinet member for environmental protection, said the new fines will take the clean-up campaign "to the next level."
She said: “In broad terms, the alleyway dumping campaign of the last two years has been successful, which is why we are investing in keeping it going for a further two.
“At the heart of the approach which we will be adopting is a greater interaction between the enforcement officers and residents.
"There will be much more ‘face to face’ communication with residents suspected of having dumped waste being challenged about it directly.
"The officers will have the option of issuing an £80 fixed penalty notice."
She added: “With this improved enforcement action, we should see significant behaviour change among those residents who don’t realise that what they’re doing is wrong, which will improve the quality of the local environment due to reduce levels of dumped waste.”
Alongside the stronger enforcement action, residents in hot-spot areas will be receiving information about the issues direct to their door in an effort to remind them of the potential for being issued with a fixed penalty notice over alleyway dumping.
Two years ago the authority introduced its dual-pronged ‘Alleyway Dumping Campaign’ to try to address an issue which many residents had expressed concerns about; household waste – anything from carrier bags to white goods – being deliberately abandoned in alleyways at the rear of people’s property rather than being disposed of properly and responsibly.
At its meeting on Monday, the cabinet allocated £242,000 from Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority’s Waste Development Fund to maintain the monthly passageway cleaning schedule for a further two years in many parts of the borough and £124,000 to develop the enforcement aspect further in an effort to deter people from illegally dumping their waste.
By February of this year more than 1,000 people had been ordered to appear in court after failing to pay fines handed out by Kingdom Ltd as part of the council's litter crackdown.
Most prosecutions have been for those who have thrown away cigarette ends.
More than 6,500 people had been given an on-the-spot £80 penalty – reduced to £60 if paid within ten days.
Anyone failing to pay up finds themselves facing Wirral magistrates.