§ Mr. Bob Russell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he proposes to take to ensure that those who deposit syringes and other medical-related items of a potential health hazard in public places, or in domestic refuse containers, can be prosecuted.
§ Angela Eagle
I have been asked to reply.
Under section 87 of the Environment Protection Act 1990, any person who drops and leaves litter in a public open space is committing a criminal offence and is liable to prosecution. Prosecutions may be brought by the Police or local authorities and upon conviction the litterer may face a maximum fine of £2,500. Local authorities may also issue fixed penalty notices to anyone who drops litter and refuses to dispose of it properly.
The term litter has a wide interpretation and we have no reason to believe that it would not include syringes and medical items. The offence relates to what is done with the material rather than what it is.
In addition, Section 46 of the Environment Protection Act 1990 enables local authorities to serve notice on householders requiring specified substances to be put in separate receptacles. Failure to comply with the provisions of this notice may lead to a summary conviction under section 46(6) of the Act.