Tougher fines for littering, graffiti and fly-tipping are set to increase across Darlington. 

The higher fines have been introduced as part of a crackdown to deter offenders and allows Darlington Borough Council to hand out stricter penalties. 

While some fines still include discounts for prompt payments, others will not and will instead be progressed through the courts system depending on their severity. 

For littering and graffiti, the maximum rate of £500 will be discounted to £150 if paid within seven days. Yet there will be no discount for the offences of fly-tipping and duty of care, with offenders facing a fine of up to £1,000 if they are caught illegally disposing of waste. 

Explaining the move, a council report added: “Setting the maximum amount for a fly-tipping offence, with no discount opportunity, does mean there is no discretion in terms of the penalty. We will review on a case-by-case basis on whether we take a fixed penalty approach or a court approach.”

Income generated by Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) can be reinvested by the council in enforcement services or to improve the local environment, the local authority said. 

Figures show Darlington Borough Council was involved in five prosecutions in 2023/24. There were also 12 instances when alleged offenders did not respond to correspondence on potential crimes. 

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A total of 17 FPNs have been handed out in the past two years, with littering being the most popular offence. 

“The legislative changes are designed to give local authorities increased penalties to further deter environmental crime,” the council added.

“For certain offences the council will retain the option to progress through the courts system to ensure it is dealt with as a crime rather than a financial penalty.”

Where an FPN is issued to an under 18, consideration can be given to reparation, such as a supervised litter pick, as an alternative to payment of the FPN.