Agenda item

E/19/43 Fixed Penalty Notices

Portfolio Holder – Councillor Alasdair Ross

 

The Council has enforcement powers to deal with a range of offences relating to fly-tipping, duty of care (in relation to safe management of waste), graffiti, fly-posting and abandoned vehicles. Offences under all of these areas can be dealt with by means of a fixed penalty notice (FPN). In addition, the breach of a Community Protection Notice (CPN) can also be dealt with through an FPN.

 

This report proposes options to introduce the use of FPNs for these offences and review the level of penalty for an existing FPN, to bring these in line with similar offences and other Suffolk authorities.

Minutes:

84.1      Councillor Ross explained that the proposal would allow the Council to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for a range of minor offences. The Council’s Fixed Penalty Notices had not been reviewed for some years and the proposal would ensure that they were aligned to current legislation. Councillor Ross explained that there would be increases in the value of some Fixed Penalty Notices as well as some new offences for which they could be issued.

 

84.2      In accordance with Standing Orders Part 3, Section 3, Paragraph 3.5, the following questions were asked:

 

Question 1 – Councillor I Lockington

Paragraph 2.3 of the report states ‘Under the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978, the Authority has a duty to remove any motor vehicle in its area which appears to be abandoned, without lawful authority, on any land in the open air’. Please could the Portfolio Holder explain what is meant by Open Air? Does that cover County Council land like green Verges/pavements/roads and any private land?

 

84.3      Councillor Ross explained that in 2019 the Council had been forced to remove 46 dumped vehicles without there being any means of recovering the costs of doing this, which the Fixed Penalty Notice would address. Councillor Ross explained that the use of the words ‘open air’ were used within the legislation without further explanation, and therefore had been interpreted to mean when the vehicle was not enclosed so as to cause issue with access and recovery, and if left could lead to damage to the local environment and / or anti-social behaviour.

 

Councillor Ross noted that the Council had a duty to remove an abandoned vehicle from all land in the open air or any land forming part of a highway, although this duty did not apply where the costs of removing the vehicle to the nearest convenient carriageway was unreasonably high. Councillor Ross confirmed that this duty extended to Suffolk County Council owned land and private land, providing the vehicle could be recovered without unreasonable expense.

 

Question 2 – Councillor I Lockington

The table at appendix 2 which gives the example of nuisance parking as ‘a business leaving two or more vehicles parked within 500 metres of each other on a road or roads where they are exposed or advertised for sale.’ Does that mean the advertising for sale has to be in or on the car or can it be that the business simply parks them on the road, but they are advertised on the business’ website for sale?

 

84.4      Councillor Ross confirmed that if the vehicles could be proved to be part of a business, that would suffice for the definition. Councillor Ross noted that whilst the vehicles would not need to be directly advertised on to fulfil the legislative requirement a good deal of research by officers would be required to prove that vehicles which were only advertised online were part of a business.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

(a)        that the FPN penalty level for fly-tipping, as set out in the legislation, be increased as proposed in Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Reason:  This will enable the Council to fulfil its statutory obligations and provide an appropriate enforcement service to promote responsible behaviour.

 

(b)         that the use of FPNs for abandoned vehicles, graffiti, fly-posting, domestic duty of care and breach of CPN offences, as set out in the legislation and as proposed in Appendix 2 to the report be approved.

 

Reason:  This will enable the Council to fulfil its statutory obligations and provide an appropriate enforcement service to promote responsible behaviour.

Supporting documents: