What a load of rubbish: littering fines soar

By Matthew Proctor

The number of fines for littering in Cathays has soared into triple figures in the past three years, marking a clear change of policy from the local authority. Fines known as domestic duty of care, and section 46 fines, levied against households in the electoral areas of Cathays have risen from 2 in 2012 to 240 fixed penalty notices in 2015.

The majority of these, domestic duty of care notices, are issued when a household puts out too much waste and have an associated fine of £80. Section 46 notices, meanwhile, are served when the wrong waste bins are put out. This is punishable by a fine of up to £100.

In 2015, 96 such notices were issued. The clear upward rise indicates an apparent shift in policy from Cardiff council in an attempt to solve the waste problems in Cathays. However, some have questioned whether such a policy is either successful or moral. The high prevalence of students in Cathays makes the current system of bi-weekly waste collections difficult, with shared houses of up to 10 people producing potentially unmanageable amounts of waste.

Waste issues are also compounded when houses with no black bins are provided with a limited number of thin bin bags, which are often torn apart by seagulls. There has been some criticism that the new policy of fining students does not alleviate the more pressing issues of insufficient waste collection for the population.

Cardiff Council defended the move, claiming the only reason bin bags are torn open is when food is misplaced in the wrong bag. They also said that fining residences only occurred after warnings and “education”. Cardiff’s Students’ Union has been pro-active in meeting with the council to discuss students’ issues regarding waste management and has urged all residents to familiarise themselves with the waste disposal procedures in place, stating: “As residents in Cardiff, students have a responsibility to find out what the waste system is when they move into a new property. We all want to live in a safe, clean environment so it would be great for everyone to look after their little patch of the city.”

The city council elections, due to commence in May 2017, offer a unique opportunity for students’ needs to be put firmly on the agenda of those seeking election in Cathays – making it a favourable time for students and our representatives to be pushing for solutions to waste issues faced by residents.

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