Government stops "barmy" bin fines

The Government is cracking down on councils that issue strict fines to residents who put their bin out at the wrong time or do not close its lid, according to a report by the Daily Mail.

Councils will be banned from fining people for innocent mistakes and instead limited to issuing penalties to those who commit a 'public nuisance' like fly-tipping or allowing their rubbish to build up.

The announcement finally puts an end to rules put in force by the Labour government in 2005, which introduced fixed penalty notices of up to £110 for seemingly minor offences. These included putting rubbish out on the wrong day, not closing the bin lid, placing a rubbish bag next to a full wheelie bin, or putting recyclable goods out with normal rubbish.

We reported back in 2011 about local councils' over zealous approach to waste disposal, and residents have continued to be caught out by patrolling bin spies, cameras in bins and weighing machines.

Around 5,000 fines were issued by local authorities between 2011/12 for rubbish-related offences, according to data from the Manifesto Club. Official figures show the average maximum fine is £80.

Barmy bin rules
According to the Daily Express, communities Secretary Eric Pickles said the new legislation, which comes into effect on July 1, signalled the death of Labour's "bin bully fines".

"For too long Labour's barmy bin rules have allowed local authorities to slap fines on law-abiding people who make innocent mistakes," he said.

"Putting out your rubbish should be a simple process and it is ludicrous that we have a system where a milk carton in the wrong recycling container or a wheelie bin a few inches out of place can lead to people facing similar fines to shoplifters.

"We're bringing common sense back with a new law to rein in bin bullies which ensures that councils only issue fines to persistent and deliberate offenders."

Under the amendments to the Bill, householders can be fined only if they cause a nuisance, damage the local area – such as those who allow rubbish to pile up outside their house, or repeatedly fail to comply with the rules.

The bin issue
Councils have long been tampering with our bins in an attempt to slash costs, from cutting weekly collections to fortnightly for almost half of UK homes and even shrinking the size of bins to limit how much we throw away.

Despite putting up a £250million fund to encourage councils to collect bins once a week rather than once a fortnight, around only 80 councils have applied for the cash.

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Where are Britain's highest tax bills?
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Government stops "barmy" bin fines
St Albans come in second on the list with a total income tax bill of £10,900 per person.
Windsor and Maidenhead came third with a total income tax bill of £10,200 per person.
The Surrey town of Guildford was fourth on the list with a total income tax bill of £9,830 per person.
England's capital city came fifth with a total income tax bill of £8,580 per person.
Wokingham has a total income tax bill of £7,490 per person. Putting it in sixth place.
Dacorum in Hertfordshire comes in joint sixth place with a total income tax bill of £7,490 per person.
The leafy towns of Reigate and Banstead have a total income tax bill of £7,000 per person.
Tonbridge and Malling take joint seventh spot with a total income tax bill of £7,000 per person.
Wycombe comes last in the top ten with a total income tax bill of £6,820 per person.

A small corner of leafy Surrey has taken the top spot in the league table of the highest income tax bills per person. Residents of Elmbridge pay an astonishing £1.18 billion in income tax every year. That puts a number of the major cities in the shade.
The leafy towns of Esher, Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames are filled with mansions, private estates, country clubs, golf courses, and riversides packed with millionaires. The proximity of Chelsea's training ground in Cobham has also brought well-paid sportsmen to the area.

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