Littering fines in Sheffield soar by 500 per cent, and we can reveal the worst streets

The number of litterbugs being fined in Sheffield has soared by more than 500 per cent.

Monday, 4th November 2019, 11:30 am
Updated Monday, 4th November 2019, 5:33 pm

More than 1,500 littering fines have already been issued this year in the city, compared with 242 during the whole of 2018, a Freedom of Information request by The Star has revealed.

Sheffield Council has generated over £75,000 from on-the-spot penalties for the offence already this year, which is a huge increase on the £13,200 it received last year.

On The Moor alone, 449 litterbugs have been caught in the act since the beginning of the year, with 194 fines doled out at Sheffield railway station and 139 on Moorfoot, at the bottom of The Moor.

Litter on the streets of Sheffield

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Of the 1,507 fines issued so far this year, 952 were paid, 382 people ended up being convicted, 152 cases are yet to be decided and 21 fines ended up being withdrawn or discontinued.

Anyone caught dropping litter or throwing it from a car faces an instant £80 fine.

In 2015, more than 1,300 such fines were issued, generating £55,000, but those numbers fell significantly in subsequent years before shooting up again this year.

The majority of fines handed out so far this year were for offences in the city centre, but 32 were issued on Page Hall Road; 15 on Hinde House Lane, in Page Hall; and 13 on Firth Park Road.

Iren Wadsworth, of Sheffield Litter Pickers, receiving The Moor Pride in Sheffield Award from litter mascot 'Phil the Bin' (pic: Steve Ellis)

Fines have been doled out on 157 different streets this year, though only one or two offences have been recorded on the majority of those roads.

Iren Worth, of Sheffield Litter Pickers, a collective of volunteer litter picking groups, said: “We’re pleased to hear more fines are being issued but we still don’t think enough’s being done countrywide in terms of fining people or deterring them. The littering and fly-tipping in Sheffield doesn’t seem to be going down at all.

“We would like to see more fines being issued and more cameras in fly-tipping and littering hot spots, because if people think they’re being watched they’re less likely to litter.

“It’s no good if they’re just fining people in the city centre, either, as it’s kept pretty pristine compared with other parts of Sheffield.

“Some areas are an absolute dumping group, where there’s so much rubbish it’s affecting people’s mental health and making them ill.

“Education’s vital too, whether that’s working with schools or putting up more signs to warn people about the impacts and consequences of littering.”

Sheffield Council was recently praised by the Government for the cleanliness of the city’s streets, following a survey by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The council said this showed it was ‘moving in the right direction’, and was doing better than other cities, though it accepted there was still work to be done.

But John Read, founder of Clean Up Britain, questioned the findings, saying it was clear the city suffers from a ‘severe litter problem’ and the council had ‘no discernible litter strategy’.

He described the survey as ‘little more than deceitful state-sponsored propaganda’ and said if anyone deserved praise it was the voluntary litter pickers, who he claimed deserved more funding and support for their ‘amazing work’.

He called for a ‘behavioural change campaign’ to deter people from littering, and for ‘active and high visibility litter enforcement and fining’.

The Star has approached Sheffield Council for a comment.

SHEFFIELD STREETS WITH THE MOST LITTERING FINES IN 2019

The Moor: 449

Sheffield railway station: 194

Moorfoot: 139

Fargate: 74

Pinstone Street: 67

Rockingham Gate: 47

Union Street: 37

Pinfold Street: 34

Page Hall Road: 32

High Street: 31

Sheffield City Centre: 20

Charles Street: 19

Hinde House Lane: 15

Earl Street: 14

Surrey Street: 14

Firth Park Road: 13

Hinde Street: 12

Peace Gardens: 11

Millsands: 10

Norfolk Street: 10

LITTERING FINES BY YEAR (amount generated)

2015: 1,319 (£55,000)

2016: 844 (£37,660)

2017: 577 (£33,020)

2018: 242 (£13,200)

2019: 1,507 (£76,280)