Fixed Penalty Notice FAQs
Frequently asked questions about Fixed Penalty Notices
We have put together a helpful list of the most frequently asked questions about Fixed Penalty Notices.
Can I appeal a Fixed Penalty Notice?
There are no formal grounds of appeal against an FPN. This is because an FPN is an invitation for you to effectively discharge your liability to prosecution. In essence this means that if you agree that an offence has been committed by you then by paying the sum of money specified no further action in the form of prosecution for the offence can be undertaken by the council.
This method of dealing with offences not only saves the time involved for everyone (including the offender) in prosecuting cases at court, but the cost associated with an FPN is likely to be substantially lower than any fine that can be imposed by the courts. The maximum penalty which can be imposed by the Courts for littering is £2,500.
But I don't agree that I committed the offence for which I have received an FPN
If you do not agree that you committed the offence then the matter will be dealt with through formal prosecution via the courts. It will then be up to the court, on receiving evidence, to determine whether or not an offence was committed and therefore whether or not any penalty should be imposed.
Effectively this means that the formal court route becomes the mechanism for those wishing to appeal an FPN it should be noted that the financial penalty imposed by the Courts can be significantly greater than that which is imposed through an FPN.
I didn't know that this was an offence, has the Council informed the public?
Hastings Borough Council has run a number of campaigns over recent years targeting littering and dog fouling.
Our education campaigns have been continual in recent years. Thousands of pounds of public money has been spent on publicity involving posters, advertising, and articles in the press.
The aim of our enforcement patrols is to target those who choose to ignore the littering laws which the rest of us abide by.
I don't see why I should pay if there are no signs about littering or dog fouling in the area?
The Local Authority is not required to place signs in every street, road, highway or open park space to inform people not to litter or to inform them that litter patrols are operating in the area. Litter legislation has been in force many years and littering in many parts of the UK is at such levels that Councils right across the country are now actively issuing FPNs to people who inappropriately discard their rubbish.
Why should I pay an FPN when there were no litter or dog bins nearby at the time?
As with signage it is not feasible for the council to put litter bins in every street, road and highway in the borough though of course every effort is made to place bins where they are most needed such as in town centres and parks and open spaces. We are keen to make our borough cleaner, greener and safer. Where bins are not available then it is up to everyone to act responsibly and make arrangements to either take their litter home or carry it until a litter bin is available.
I received a FPN for dropping a cigarette butt, surely that can't be considered littering?
Litter includes not only cigarette butts and associated materials but chewing gum also. In many ways these items are more of a nuisance and more expensive to clean up than other items of rubbish.
Cigarette stubs cannot be placed in litter bins because they will catch fire to them.
What else should I do?
Smokers are responsible for ensuring that they completely extinguish their cigarettes before placing them in the bin. Cigarette waste is the same as any other waste in terms of litter laws and you can be issued with an FPN for not disposing of cigarette stubs properly. Care should be taken to avoid any risk of fire and in particular cigarette ends should be completely extinguished on the stubbing plates provided on many litter bins before the stub is thrown into the bin. There is also no reason why a smoker cannot carry a portable "butt pouch" with them.
I wasn't given a warning, surely that is not fair?
It is a no tolerance policy and once the offence has been committed our officers have to issue an FPN as this discharges the liability to be taken to court for the littering offence.
If I pick up the litter after an officer has approached me, do I still receive an FPN?
It is important to realise that the littering offence relates to the dropping of litter and walking away once you have dropped it. So, whether or not you volunteer to pick up your litter afterwards you have committed an offence and will be issued with an FPN.
Where do the Enforcement Officers patrol?
The officers are tasked to areas of highest demand and will patrol wherever there is evidence of littering. It has been shown that town centres are hotspot areas and cigarette butts are the most common litter issue.
If I put it down a drain is that an offence?
Placing a cigarette end down a drain or in a stream is still an offence which will result in the issue of an FPN.
What happens if I refuse to pay the FPN?
You will be prosecuted for the offence.
Can I complain about the enforcement officer's behaviour?
If you feel that any of our officers' behaviour is unacceptable, please complete the on line complaints form http://www.hastings.gov.uk/my_council/complaints. Or you can write to the address provided on your FPN and your complaint will be investigated. You should be aware that making a complaint is treated separately to the issue of the FPN and as an offence is still alleged you remain liable to prosecution unless you choose to pay the FPN within the time specified.
Can I pay by instalments?
We do not accept payments by instalments.
Still got a question?
You can ask us directly using our online enquiry form.
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