Council bosses have defended a proposed tougher stance on littering in Wigan amid concerns their enforcement plans are “flimsy” and full of “loopholes.”
The town hall revealed recently that it hopes to become the first authority in Greater Manchester to impose fines for littering from vehicles. The move appeared before a scrutiny committee this week and could receive cabinet approval later this month.
Councillors said action is required but doubt was cast on how effective the new measures will be.
Responsibility for spotting offences and recording registration plates will initially be with the town hall’s team of existing environmental enforcement officers, in addition to their other duties.
Coun Stuart Gerrard said: “I can see so many loopholes in this. To get someone to pay the fine there needs to be some kind of evidence. If it’s just going to be the enforcement officer’s word against the driver’s, it won’t stand up.”
The Atherton Independent representative later added: “I’d just like a bit more meat on the bones. I’d like to see more.”
Environment director Paul Barton said the policy is focused on an education drive and the enforcement element will act as a deterrent, gathering momentum. He said: “I know what you’re saying, it sounds a bit flimsy, but it’s not. We don’t want to give the fines, what we want is for people not to drop litter in the first place.
“The council gets a lot of flak for residents dropping litter, it’s not the council, we’re left with the problem.”
The fine for general littering will rise to £120 from £80, the same level as the new punishment for dumping rubbish from vehicles “so there is no confusion.”