'Fly-tipping' fines totalling nearly £43k refunded to Haringey residents
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Haringey Council had to return £42,920 to residents after it incorrectly fined them for fly-tipping.
Earlier this year, the Local Government Ombudsman told the council it must waive a £400 fine issued to Crouch End resident Isabelle Langlois, who had left her rubbish out for collection 40 minutes early in April 2021.
The ombudsman said the policy of treating rubbish left out early for collection as fly-tipping, was flawed.
Haringey Council had been making use of a clause in the 1990 Environmental Protection Act, stating fly-tippers can be fined £400, which has no formal appeals process.
The Ombudsman ordered that fines issued under the policy must be repaid – 119 in total, according to figures obtained by the Liberal Democrat opposition.
Lib Dem group leader and Crouch End councillor Luke Cawley-Harrison said: “It is becoming a pattern to see the council treating residents as a resource, forgetting that these are the people it exists to serve.
"There is no common sense being applied here when residents and businesses act in good faith to help keep our streets clean.
"It is good to see that this wrong-headed policy is being changed, and those fined under it having their money returned, but this should never have been necessary. It is clear that Haringey Council needs to change.”
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Haringey leader Cllr Peray Ahmet said the policy was amended "immediately" following the ombudsman’s decision. The council stopped issuing £400 fines, and cancelled and refunded those who had been fined.
Officers are issuing warnings before any enforcement action is taken over waste that is put out before the timed collection period.
She said the council provides 14 timed collections for flats above shops each week, giving residents an hour to put their waste out.
She added: “The enforcement policy was put in place as an important step in keeping our streets clean and free of rubbish to prevent issues for the wider community, such as vermin infestations and limited accessibility for pedestrians and those with disabilities.”
On hearing of the ombudsman's decision, Isabelle said earlier this year: "I am so happy. I knew something was so wrong, I needed to fight for that, they needed to change this regulation."