Fixed Penalty Notices

A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) is a notice served by an authorised enforcement officer to a person who has committed a criminal offence. They can be used for parking offences, anti-social behaviour and also in relation to environmental crime.

They may be issued on the spot or through the post.

If you pay the fixed penalty fine that is the end of the matter and no criminal record is associated with it.

If you don’t pay and the offence is tried at the Magistrates Court it may result in a conviction where the fine may be much higher and a criminal record will be created for the offence (which must be declared when applying for jobs, travelling etc.)

What can FPNs be issued for?

They can be issued for a range of environmental-related offences including:

  • Littering
  • Failing to remove dog faeces
  • Placing waste out too early for collection
  • Businesses not disposing of waste properly
  • Graffiti
  • Fly-posting
  • Failing to provide a waste carrier licence/waste transfer notes.

What is classed as "litter"?

The term "litter" covers a wide range of items, which can include such things as cigarette butts, food waste, packaging or a bag of waste discarded on the street. Littering can take place on any land (public or private) in the open air to which the public have access to. It is a criminal offence that carries a fine of up to £2,500 and could leave you with a criminal record.

Can I pay my fine by instalments?

No, you cannot pay the fine in instalments.

What happens if someone refuses to give their details to an authorised officer?

It is an offence to fail to give your name, or give a false address to an authorised officer when asked and you could be prosecuted for failing to give these details.

Can I appeal against a FPN?

No, you cannot appeal. If you choose not to pay the FPN, you are opting for your case to be heard in court and if you are found guilty, you could face a larger fine and receive a criminal conviction.

How much does a FPN cost?

The cost of an FPN depends on the offence and these costs are listed below along with the possible conviction costs if the matter goes to court.

Fixed Penalty Notice Costs
Description of offence Amount if paid within 14 days Amount if paid within 28 daysMaximum penalty on conviction 
Littering  £50  £80  £2500
Failing to remove dog faeces  £50  £50  £1000
An offence in relation to a domestic bin  £60  £60  £1000
An offence in relation to a commercial bin  £80  £100  £1000
Failure to comply with a street litter control notice  £80  £100  £2500
Failure to comply with a litter clearing notice  £80  £100  £2500
Failure to provide a waste carriers licence  N/A  £300  £5000
Failure to produce waste transfer notes N/A £300 £5000
Graffiti £50 £80 £5000
Fly posting £50 £80 £2500
Abandoned vehicles £120 £200 £2500

There were no signs in the area where I dropped the litter, why should I still pay the FPN?

Wigan Council is not required to place signs in every street, road, highway or open park/space to inform people about not dropping litter or that street scene enforcement officers are operating in the area.

Why should I pay a FPN for littering when there were no litterbins nearby at the time?

As with signage, it is not possible for us to place litterbins in every street and road in the borough, though we do make every effort to place bins where they are most needed such as areas with the greatest levels of pedestrian footfall. Where bins are not available, it is up to everyone to act responsibly and either take their litter home or carry it until a litterbin is available.

Is dropping a cigarette butt classed as "littering"?

Yes, litter such as cigarette butts and chewing gum causes a great deal of nuisance and are expensive and time consuming to clean up.

I could not place my cigarette stub in the litterbin as it could have caught on fire but I was still issued with a FPN. Is this fair?

Smokers are responsible for ensuring that they completely extinguish their cigarettes before placing them in the bin. Cigarette waste is the same as any other waste in terms of litter laws and you can be issued with a FPN for not disposing of cigarette stubs properly.

Obviously care should be taken to avoid any risk of fire and in particular cigarette ends should be completely extinguished on the stubbing plates provided on many litterbins before the stub is thrown into the bin. Alternatively you can purchase "stubbing pouches" to enable you to extinguish your stub and before putting it in a litter bin or taking it home.

If I pick up the litter after an officer has approached me, do I still receive a fine?

Littering offences relate to the dropping or depositing of litter so whether or not you volunteer to pick up your litter afterwards, you have still committed an offence and will receive a FPN.

Can I pay the enforcement officer straight away when the FPN is issued to me?

No, the officer cannot accept any form of payment. There are a number of ways you can choose to pay the fine, which are listed below.

What are the options to pay the FPN?

  • Online
  • By phone on 01942 404364
  • By post (To pay by post please send a cheque or postal order to the following address, please also enclose the slip attached to the bottom of your FPN. Wigan Council, Safer Environment, PO Box 100, Wigan, WN1 3DS).

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