Keeping your local communities clean and tidy has never been more important, as people are being urged to do all they can to protect their environment.

Anyone can be fined for dropping a variety of litter in a public space, including empty wrappers and cartons, food waste, chewing gum and cigarettes.

Littering in the UK was first made an offence over 30 years ago in 1990.

In later years, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 was amended and now The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 is used by local authorities.

@onplanetpatrol Ten types of litter made up 70% of litter in the UK in 2021, with plastic fragments being the most polluted. #PlanetPatrol #litter #plasticpollution ♬ original sound - Planet Patrol

But if you have unfortunately been caught littering when out and about and you have been given a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), you might be wondering if you can avoid paying it.

How to avoid paying a littering fine

“The only way to avoid paying a notice for littering is to attend court,” reports the Thrifty Family website run by financial expert Janine Marsh.

She adds: “You’d need to provide a strong reason why the FPN should be cancelled. Even then, your appeal may not be successful and you’d have to pay.

“On the other hand, you could opt to pay the fine within 14 days so you pay the lesser amount.

“Many people prefer to pay early to avoid all the hassle and worry of attending court which can be stressful to say the least.”

If you pay the fine within two weeks of being issued, you can receive a 50% discount.

Jane also explains that if you go to court to try and avoid paying a littering fine, “consulting a solicitor is highly recommended.”

Is littering a criminal or civil offence?

Jane adds: “Yes. Littering in the UK is a crime even though a FPN falls under civil law.

“Plus, when you provide false information to the issuer, you could face legal proceedings.

“It’s a criminal offence under the Environmental Protection Act of 1990 to provide incorrect information to an authority.”