Woman wins case against £400 fly-tipping fine for putting rubbish out early
- Credit: Simon Allin
A Crouch End woman fined £400 for leaving rubbish out 35 minutes before collection has been vindicated by an ombudsman.
Isabelle Langlois, who lives in Park Road, said she is "really happy" that her fixed penalty notice (FPN) will be waived – and that so will those given to anyone else by Haringey Council in similar circumstances last year.
The 42-year-old, who lives behind a shop, left her rubbish bag out early on April 10 last year because she needed to go out.
Haringey Council fined her £400 but she refused to pay and appealed to the Local Government Ombudsman.
The ombudsman ruled in Isabelle's favour, saying: "It is not proportionate or in the spirit of the government guidance to treat rubbish left out 35 minutes early as fly-tipping, which is a criminal offence.
"This means there is fault in the way the council’s policy has been written and any decision making that relies on it is flawed."
Haringey Council made use of a clause in the 1990 Environmental Protection Act stating fly-tippers can be fined £400, which has no formal appeals process.
Government guidance on household waste, issued in 2018, states £80 fixed penalties cannot be given for minor problems including "leaving bins out for a few hours before a collection".
Haringey must provide Isabelle with a written apology and pay her £100 in recognition of the "distress and uncertainty she was caused" by receiving it.
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A spokesperson for Haringey Council said Ms Langlois has been contacted to arrange the compensation.
They added: “We have immediately stopped issuing fly-tipping fines for waste that is presented outside of set timed collections, and are currently working through identifying and contacting those who have received fines under this policy within the past 12 months to cancel any outstanding fines and to refund those that have already paid."
Isabelle said: "I am so happy. I knew something was so wrong, I needed to fight for that, they needed to change this regulation.
"I never paid the £400, I'm so happy I don't have to pay them but I am so happy that they will change this regulation because this is unfair and I hate what is unfair."