Nov 4 2011 By Dan Coombs
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AN ENFORCEMENT company has caused a mixed reaction by issuing 744 on-the-spot fines for littering in just six weeks.
The fines targeted at those dropping litter and dog fouling are part of a pilot scheme by Xfor Local Authority Support, on behalf of Hillingdon Council.
Officers can be seen patrolling Uxbridge High Street daily, and have so far raised £34,830 from issuing penalties.
Figures from Septmeber 13 to October 22 show that off these 444 have been paid, bringing in £22,720. The fines have not gone down well with everybody.
Gemma Palfrey, 30, of Rickmansworth, was handed a £50 fine for dropping a cigarette butt outside Nando's in Uxbridge High Street last Monday (31), raising to £80 if it is not paid within 10 days.
She said: "I think it is unfair, I asked if I could pick it up and put it in a bin but I was told I would be fined regardless. There is no goodwill, and importantly there are no signs and not enough bins.
"I will be writing a letter and appealing the fine. I agree people should not be littering, but I don't agree with the policy, a three strikes rule would be more fair."
So far there have been 70 appeals against the fines, 64 of which have been rejected.
Peter Silverman, of Kingsend, Ruislip, is a vehement anti-litter campaigner and runs website Clean Highways. He said: "I think it is a fantastic idea, and I am proud it is our council that are doing it.
"100 per cent tough action works, it is like people who break the speed limits and slow down when they see a camera, people tend to drop litter because they do not think they will get caught."
Of those fined, almost a third are young people aged 18-25, followed closely by those in the 26-35 age group, while a small number of residents aged 65 and over have also been fined.
Council Leader Ray Puddifoot said: "We need to educate people and if this is what it takes it will be self-fulfilling. Residents reaction is very good, they like this. If it turns out we need to put more bins in we are quite prepared to do that. It is not about making money, its about making the streets clean."
The project is an ongoing pilot, and will soon be extended to parks around the borough in addition to town centres.