A major survey conducted in Leamington has shown overwhelming support for fines being given to those caught littering.
The Clean Up Britain campaign group - which is leading the Now or Never anti-litter behavioural change campaign supported by The Courier - has revealed that 81 per cent of people believe ‘strongly’ or ‘very strongly that fines should be given to litterers.
The telephone survey was conducted amongst a statistically significant sample of 258 Leamington residents aged between 16 and 65 years old of whom 51 per cent of respondents were male and 49 per cent female.
John Read, founder of Clean up Britain, said that: “These survey results show there is extremely strong support amongst people in Leamington for the introduction of litter enforcement.
Currently, there are no Litter Enforcement officers in Leamington.
“This seems to send a negative message that ‘Warwick District Council doesn’t care about litter, so why should anyone else?’.
“I know this isn’t the case, because Cllr Moira-Ann Grainger has been very supportive of the Now or Never campaign.
“However, we know that in relation to changing people’s behaviour, some people will only react to fines and sanctions.
“The council needs to send out a clear and unequivocal message that if people break the law by dropping litter, they stand a real chance of being caught and punished.
“The law needs to be credible and enforced - at the moment it’s neither”.
Littering is a criminal offence and can lead to an immediate £150 fine, or up to £2,500 if the issue is taken to a Magistrates Court.
The survey also revealed that as many as 35 per cent of people in Leamington either did not know that, or did not think, littering is illegal.
In addition, a large number - 44 per cent - thought that litter was either a “fairly big” or “very big” problem in their area.
Encouragingly for the Now or Never campaign - whose strapline is ‘litter kills’ - 90 per cent of people ‘strongly agreed’ that litter can kill animals.
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