A Faversham Italian Wine bar owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, was recently fined £150 for dropping a cigarette butt down a drain outside his premises by a private company
operative contracted by Swale Borough Council.
As this seemed rather exorbitant, we contacted the Council to ask how much of the revenue was retained by the contractor and how much went to Swale.
We wrote to Swale: “We understand that the litter warden service is being provided by a
private company and wanted to have some information about how penalty payments are split between The Council and the private company.”
Their reply: “Under section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 a public authority is exempt from the duty to communicate where the disclosure of the requested information would, or be likely to, prejudice the commercial
interests of any person (including the public authority holding it).” Quite a get out clause.
While we completely agree with all efforts to reduce the incidents of fly tipping in the borough and other unsightly piles of rubbish that occasionally disfigure Faversham’s streets, the overzealous enforcement of punitive penalties for such minor offences for private financial gain seem rather worrying.