The amount of littering in Reading has been slammed as ‘out of control’ with the council being pressed to tackle the issue.

The council is responsible for clearing and prosecuting flytipping and rubbish dumping in the town, with offenders being issued Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) of £400.

The number of fines issued by the council was revealed at a recent meeting.

Councillor Rob White (Green, Park) the leader of the opposition, called rubbish dumping “out of control” in “some bits” of the town, asking how many fines the council has issued over the last five years and what measures it is taking to tackle the problem.

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Karen Rowland (Labour, Abbey), the lead councillor for environmental services, answered his question.

While she was unable to give figures over the last five years, she was able to give figures from the last three financial years.

The council issued 395 fines for rubbish dumping in the most recent year, 2021/22, with the majority of these -353- being issued for fly-tipping, with 28 being issued for littering and 14 issued for businesses which failed in their duty of care to dispose of trade waste.

The number of fines issued was up by 59 from the previous year, 2020/2021.

You can see the number of fines issued in the table below:

Cllr Rowland said council effort to tackle rubbish dumping involved reminding neighbours of their duties, investigation and prosecution.

She did say prosecutions had dipped due to the council’s recycling and enforcement team being at “half capacity” due to resignations, with the team returning to full capacity at the end of last year.

To aid flytipping proseuction, the council has CCTV at three hotspot locations, with a fourth being ordered by the administration.

Communications to neighbours includes installation of ‘no-fly tipping’ signage, letters in foreign languages to ensure they understand their responsibilities, and working with the University of Reading in its ‘Hello Neighbour’ campaign to inform students about waste disposal, the recycling regime and other key topics.

Cllr White also asked why there had been a drop in littering fines from 110 in 2020/21 to 28 in 2021/22.

Cllr Rowland replied: “Those are actually records for the past two years, and obviously you can tell in the case of the littering FPNs have gone down, the flytipping FPNs have gone up.

“During this current year, even though I was explaining the team was very much down and the 2021/22 numbers begin to show a reflection of the lack of full staffing that the team was at.”

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She added now that the team is back up to full staff, with five new officers, the issuing of fines will recover.

Cllr Rowland also pointed out that the team also has responsibility for recycling as well, which involves work on rolling out food waste collection.

The exchanges took place at the full council meeting on Tuesday, March 21.