Wigan Council one of six local authorities to hand out recycling fines in the last five years

Wigan Council is one of just six local authorities to issue recycling fines in the last five years.

Repeat offenders have been punished for not recycling correctly
Repeat offenders have been punished for not recycling correctly

Data collected by Mashroom shows which areas had taken action for rubbish being placed in the wrong bin, after 349 councils responded to a Freedom of Information request.

In Wigan borough, 10 fines have been handed out, with four in 2020/21.

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Paul Barton, director of environment at Wigan Council, said: “We are grateful that the vast majority of residents, in line with the Deal, take great care to recycle the correct items in the correct bins.

“Placing items into the wrong bin can have a huge impact as just one incorrect item can contaminate a whole load of recycling, meaning that it ends up in landfill and has a huge environmental and economic impact.

“On occasions where this happens repeatedly, we work closely with residents to help educate them on how to recycle more and recycle right.

“Only in circumstances where repeated non-compliance is recorded would a fine be issued and by this stage numerous efforts to change the behaviour would have been attempted.

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“Our top priority is always to educate residents and this has been the case for many years. Fines are always a last resort.”

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Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council handed out the most fines, with 67 since 2018. London borough of Waltham Forest Council, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Stoke City Council and Swansea City and Borough Council were the other areas on the list.

According to the government website: councils can issue fines and penalties if an individual is not following the waste collection rules. But the actions of the residents need to lead to or be causing a nuisance/negative or detrimental effect on local amenities.

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Residents can also be fined if waste left out is causing an obstruction to neighbours, restricting access to the pavement or street, is likely to attract vermin or is unsightly.

The research found many local authorities don’t have a fine system in place, and take different measures, such as refusing to empty a recycling bin if contaminated.

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