Council gets tough on litter offenders

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2013

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Stop, hands up ... litter police.

Litter control officers will soon be roaming the district, with the ability to fine litterbugs up to $400.

The Timaru District Council under the Litter Act yesterday adopted an infringement which will allow fines up to $400 for littering. The move is a bid to combat rubbish dumping potentially costing up to $10,000 a year to clean up.

A litter control officer will be able to issue a fine if they observe or have reasonable cause to believe a litter offence has taken place.

Under the Litter Act it is an offence to dump litter in a public place or on private land, with offenders facing a fine or conviction if prosecuted.

It will also be an offence to wilfully obstruct a litter control officer.

Council environmental health manager Jonathan Cowie said unauthorised dumping of rubbish (fly tipping) was increasing within the Timaru district.

A mobile licence plate capture camera has also been bought to identify culprits.

"This trend has the potential to cost the council $5000 to $10,000 per year in cleanup costs.

"Since May the council has received seven customer requests to remove rubbish of general household items and waste, green waste, toys, TVs, car parts and dead animals. The council has also notified Environment Canterbury of five separate riverbed dumpings," Mr Cowie said.

"The cleanup cost to the council for six of these situations ranged from $119 to $530. The other situation was resolved by the offender after a letter and discussion.

Mr Cowie said the health unit purchased a mobile licence plate capture camera in August. At Labour Weekend it recorded offending at a site.

Once approached, the offender chose to remove the rubbish himself.

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- The Timaru Herald

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