Last week at the Economic & Environmental Scrutiny Committee up for discussion was the council's Environmental Enforcement Policy as a pre-scrutiny item. I believe a town is designed by the quality of its street scene and believe that all people want is to leave in a clean, safe and pleasant environment and be left alone to get on with their lives.
The Environmental Enforcement Policy is designed to ensure that boundaries are set against those who wish to spoil it for the rest and take the appropriate enforcement action. Under the Clean Neighbourhoods Act 2005, council have the ability to issue £80 on the spot Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN's) to U17's and also to Children as young as 10.
Despite this ability, we have taken the view that a persistant offender under the age of 17 will be referred to our Youth Offending Team to educate and advise and set this out on page 9 of the draft policy that was debated.
I was therefore surprised that in the Southend Echo this week was the front page headline that we plan to fine kids £80 for dropping litter.
I mentioned in a previous post about the quality of some of the political journalism in the national press but have to commend the Echo on realising their error and and printing a retraction the following day.
It is just a shame that the Sun, who also decided to run with this story on Thursday, do not follow the Echo's lead a print a retraction.