Local Environment Quality
What can I do about people’s smoky bonfires?
The quickest way to sort things out might be to discuss them with your neighbour. If this doesn’t help, or you don’t feel comfortable talking to your neighbour, you should make a formal complaint to your local authority since most problems with domestic bonfires are dealt with by local authorities under their statutory nuisance powers.
Whose responsibility is it to clean up dog mess?
The first responsibility lies with the person responsible for the dog, who ought always to pick up after their pet. Dog mess is extremely unpleasant, and the government is working closely with local councils to improve the situation. Local councils have statutory responsibility to make sure the living environment is clear of dog faeces, and local authorities and parish councils can control dog fouling by making Dog Control Orders.
Local authorities and parish councils can also authorise officers to issue fixed penalty notices to anyone suspected of committing an offence; they can also set the fixed penalty amount within a prescribed range.
Whose responsibility is it to clean up litter?
Local authorities are responsible for clearing litter from the streets, and for enforcing the laws that make it a crime to drop litter (which includes chewing gum, cigarette stubs etc.). Business and other producers also have a responsibility to reduce the amount of litter they generate, and sometimes also to help clear it up.
The government also provides funding to the charity Keep Britain Tidy to run campaigns to raise awareness of the issue, and educate people about the consequences of this thoughtless behaviour. It also co-ordinates the Eco-Schools project which, amongst other things, works in schools to challenge the littering culture from a young age.
There is a huge amount of information about dealing with litter in your area on Directgov
What can I do about a noisy neighbour?
You should first approach your neighbour and try and reach an amicable arrangement. Many people just don’t realise how far noise travels. However, if that fails, or you feel that you cannot speak to your neighbour, then you should approach your local authority.
Local authorities have a duty to take reasonably practicable steps to investigate complaints of ‘noise emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance’. If satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists or is about to occur or recur, the local authority must serve an abatement notice under section 80 requiring that the nuisance is abated or restricted to prevent its occurrence or recurrence.
Sustainable Products and Consumption
How can I apply for an Ecolabel for my business?
The Ecolabel applies to over twenty-five different types of consumer products, mainly domestic goods such as textiles and paints. It is a Europe-wide scheme, controlled centrally by the European Commission, and administered in each EU member state by a “competent body” which advertises the scheme, handles applications, and awards the label.
Defra is the Ecolabel Competent Body in the UK. In October 2008 we appointed a new body called UK Ecolabel Delivery to take responsibility for all enquiries and applications for the Ecolabel in the UK on our behalf, working under contract to AEA.
UK Ecolabel Delivery’s helpline is +44 (0)1355 593930, and e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
What do the energy ratings on my washing machine/dishwasher actually mean?
Information about all types of Energy labels can be found on Directgov
There are many more ideas on what actions you can take to live more sustainably on Directgov
Are people going to be fined for not having a food waste collection? Can I be fined if I don’t recycle my food waste?
No. One size does not fit all in food waste collection – local authorities are best placed to decide what sort of systems work best in their area and we want to give them the ability to decide what is most appropriate. For example there are big differences between housing in urban and rural areas, and what sorts of treatment facilities are available locally also influences what local authorities decide upon. There are no plans to make separate food waste collection mandatory.
Are all bin collections going to be weekly? Why are recycling/waste collections different in different areas? Why doesn’t my council collect plastic/cardboard etc?
Local authorities decide on the best collection service for their area, taking into account local needs, economic efficiencies and the need to protect the environment, but we recognise that people feel strongly about the frequency and quality of their bin collections. The government wants to give local people – individuals and community groups – more power over local government and over how public money is spent in their area, and ensure that councillors are more directly accountable to them.
For information or comments on your local waste collection, you should contact your council’s Waste Management team. You can find your local council’s contact details on Directgov
What is happening about recycling incentives? I recycle everything I can, why can’t I get a reduction in my council tax/reward for it?
The government wants to reward people for doing the right thing. The Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP) research on barriers to recycling revealed that more than half (56 per cent) of recyclers would be encouraged to recycle more if they received an incentive for doing it. There are different methods for rewarding householders for recycling, and we do not endorse any one system as being suitable for everyone. Instead, we would encourage councils to develop ways to reward householders for recycling which are appropriate for their local area.
Councils would need to put systems in place to ensure that schemes do not lead to an increase in the contamination of recycling (for example with heavy, non recyclable items). In some recycling schemes, rewards are capped, meaning that, above a certain point, producing more recycling will not earn more rewards. This helps to make sure householders do not take unreasonable steps to increase the weight of their recycling. Ultimately, it would be up to local authorities to design schemes which would be fair and appropriate for their residents.
I work for a Local Authority, where can I get some advice on recycling/waste reduction strategies?
The government funds the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), to work with local authorities and the recycling industry to increase the availability of different waste recycling facilities, to optimise waste collection systems and support new recycling technologies. WRAP has already helped many local authorities increase the number of waste streams they are able to handle, as well as implement collections of things such as food waste. More information on the Organisation along with contact details can be found on the WRAP website.
I’ve just seen some rubbish dumped at the side of the road, who can I report it to?
In the first instance, you should report all instances of fly-tipping and dumping to your local council’s Environmental Enforcement team. You should make note of the vehicle registration, company name (if applicable) as well as time and date of the incident. You can find your local council’s contact details on Directgov.
What is the Environment Agency responsible for?
The Environment Agency is responsible for environmental regulation in England and Wales, improving the natural environment as well as protecting communities from flooding and managing water resources.
All establishments and undertakings carrying out waste management activities need to hold an environmental permit or register for an exemption from an environmental permit. The Environment Agency is the competent authority for England and Wales in respect of the environmental permitting system.
More information on its activities is available on the Environment Agency website.
Where can I find out more information about recycling at home and at school?
The latest information on recycling at home, work or school is available on the RecycleNow website. This site also includes information on how to recycle different items and materials, as well as information on what recycling facilities are available in your area along with lots of additional help and advice.
What do water companies do to reduce the effects of droughts?
All water companies in England and Wales have drought plans which set out how they will continue to supply water in a drought. Water companies are required to publicly consult on their plans, to promote transparency on the steps that they plan to take to manage water resources in a drought.
Each drought plan contains a range of measures to be activated depending on the severity and extent of the drought. The measures include extra promotion of water efficiency, publicity campaigns, pressure reduction, enhanced leakage reduction and restrictions on water use.
For more information please see our drought page.
What does a hose pipe ban mean for me?
In the past water companies’ powers were limited to banning the use of hosepipes to water private gardens and wash private motor cars. However, new powers from 1 October 2010 have widened the uses companies can prohibit or restrict when a serious water shortage exists or is threatened. These may now include:
- watering a garden using a hosepipe;
- cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a hosepipe;
- watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe;
- cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe;
- filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool;
- drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use;
- filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe;
- filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain;
- cleaning walls, or windows, of domestic premises using a hosepipe;
- cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe;
- cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe.
For more information please see our drought page.
Page last modified: 6 October 2010