Several weeks ago, East Hampshire District Council leader Richard Millard, writing in this newspaper, issued a statement notifying residents that the council was increasing litter enforcement patrols to make sure anyone dropping litter thinks again.

Mr Millard acknowledged existing laws in place which allow a fixed penalty notice of £80 or a fine of up to £2,500 to be issued to offenders.

I was encouraged by his bold statement. Sadly, the reality tells a different story for residents in Alton. 

Our high street, roads, footpaths, and public spaces are blighted by the litter problem, and the situation is getting worse, not better.

The attached photos were taken in Alton high street on Sunday morning and confirm the contractor is not emptying the bins frequently enough. 

This also reflects badly on EHDC, who are failing to oversee the work of Norse South East Ltd, the contractor responsible for waste management. 

Norse is contributing to the litter problem by failing to empty overflowing bins quickly enough, which results in litter being blown far and wide.

Mr Millard needs to supply evidence that the bins are being emptied every day as per Norse’s contractual agreement. In addition, I have never seen a Norse contractor pick up litter lying elsewhere on pavements or in the roadside gutter. 

Who, therefore, is supposed to pick this up? The answer, of course, is the local volunteers who collectively and individually pick up litter from the high street and surrounding areas, several times a month. 

I have been on numerous volunteer group litter picks recently where we have collected more than 40kg of rubbish from Alton’s pavements and footpaths. I estimate about 500kg of litter is dropped on Alton High Street and adjoining footpaths each year.

Is Mr Millard able to confirm how many fines have been issued throughout East Hampshire to litter offenders, and specifically in Alton, since he made his statement? 

Hundreds of cigarette butts alone are dropped in Alton every week, so the scope for raising serious revenue through fines is significant, perhaps enough to pay for all the potholes that need filling in!

Nick Dixon

Normandy Street, Alton