£100 fine for a messy garden
New Community Protection Notices, pushed through by Theresa May, will give council officials the power to fine householders if a property is regularly littered with pizza boxes, old fridges and sofas, for example. Both private and council homes will be in the frame.
In theory, the move should put a stop to those who blight their neighbourhood with persistent low-level mess. The anti-lout laws will only apply though for regular offenders - this is not about on-the-spot fines for an occasionally mucky garden, or rare times when you may be having work done on your home.
No right to be filthy dirty?
Offenders will be also given a fixed period to clean up before they risk being slapped with a fine. But the move sparks several questions: will councils be able to afford to pay for the enforcement of such laws?
How effective would the enforcement be? And the other lurker: if you own the land, don't you have the right to do what you want with it, regardless of what other people think or say?
Up to £2,500 fineSeveral comments on the Conservative Home Blog give the new rules a mixed reception. "Just what we need," said one comment, "an army of Garden Enforcement Executives". "It's my garden," said another comment, "and I should be allowed to do what I want with it."
Maybe, but what concerns many is the consequence of messy neighbours; one of the biggest being an increased risk of vermin and foxes.
The rash of rules also gives more clout to police to handle noisy neighbours as well as target individuals whose dogs foul communal, shared spaces - and even takeaway restaurants that turn a blind eye to customers that leave litter outside their premises.
And the £100 fine is just the start. It could extend to £2,500 for serious breaches.
What do you think of the move? Do you support it or should you be allowed to do what you like with your own garden? Let us know in the comments below.