Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Banana skin litter costs man 340

Banana skin on floor
The council said it classed banana skins as litter

A man who threw a banana skin from his car has been ordered to pay £340, and the council which caught him is warning others of its zero tolerance to litter.

The man from Pontypridd was ordered to pay a £75 fine, court costs of £250 and a £15 victim surcharge after he threw the banana skin from the window.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council said it wanted to send a clear anti-litter message to residents and visitors.

More than 500 litter fines have been issued by the council in three years.

Rhondda Cynon Taf's service director for street care, Nigel Wheeler, said: "Up until about three years ago we didn't have any enforcement on the street and people were complaining about that.

We always try to raise awareness about dropping litter and the reason you shouldn't do it
Nigel Wheeler, Rhondda Cynon Taf council

"We have zero tolerance with throwing litter on the floor but a fixed penalty is the last resort. Where possible we ask people to pick it up.

"When it's thrown out of a car it's called abandonment and there's no way they are going to pick it up."

A person can be prosecuted in court if they fail to pay the fixed penalty notice within a certain time.

Mr Wheeler said the council was keen to educate people about what constituted litter, including items such as banana skins.

"We class it as litter. I understand that people might think it's biodegradable," he said.

"But the banana skin could be on a pavement, someone could slip on it. If they're throwing it, it's classed as litter."

Zero waste

He said cigarette butts were a particular problem because many people did not class them as litter.

In 2007 after the smoking ban was introduced, the council prosecuted a van driver twice - once for smoking in a work vehicle and again for littering after throwing the butt out of the window.

"We always try to raise awareness about dropping litter and the reason you shouldn't do it," said Mr Wheeler.

"It's the same with cigarette butts which some people don't consider litter. But they fall in the cracks in the pavements and make it unsightly like chewing gum.

"They're also very difficult to pick up because they're so small."

The council has held crackdowns in areas where litter is a problem.

A scheme aims to turn Glyncoch near Pontypridd into a "zero waste" community with a focus on recycling.

The 18-month project will also tackle litter problems, dog fouling and fly tipping.

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