Litter bugs in Dundee could be forced to carry out community service.
Dundee City Council says it wants folk who fail to pay fines for dropping litter to be handed payback orders to make them carry work out in the community.
The local authority said the fixed penalty notices, which they issue between 300 and 400 of each year, are supposed to “modify people’s behaviour”.
But currently roughly half of the notices are reported to the courts as being unpaid.
Charges for littering currently stand at a £50 on-the-spot fine for offenders if they are caught dropping rubbish in the city.
In a report that will be sent to Keep Scotland Beautiful, the council’s environment director Ken Laing said there should be a focus on a strategy dealing with offenders.
He said: “A percentage of litter offenders will fall into the ‘can’t pay/won’t pay’ category and consideration should be given to issuing such offenders with community service clean-ups to focus on appreciating the problem of litter.
“Zero Waste Scotland should focus on activity which supports the strategy.”
However Graham Cross, from the Bonnie Dundee group that carries out litter picks, said that plans for community service would go too far.
He said: “I think that it is a bit hard I didn’t think they would want to go that far.
“The fines can be a big amount for someone to pay, especially pensioners like myself.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea and it would have everyone up in arms. It isn’t a punishment that fits the crime. Community service should be for proper criminals. What we do is encourage people to appreciate the area around them. I think a more positive approach is better for that.”
The council’s environment department said it thought littering was a spontaneous decision or a lack of thought, while fly-tipping was thought out in advance and therefore needed a more serious punishment.
The director said he disagreed with plans to increase litter charges as it could lead to more people being referred to the procurator fiscal if they were unable to pay.
Mr Laing said: “The use of the fixed-penalty notice is intended to modify people’s behaviour.
“Unpaid fixed-penalty notices are subject to a report to the procurator fiscal. If the number of unpaid notices for littering went up because of the penalty being increased to £80 then this will place an additional burden on the local authority in preparing more Procurator Fiscal reports.
“On average Dundee City Council issues 300 to 400 fixed-penalty notices for littering each year. Approximately 50% of these are reported to the Procurator Fiscal as unpaid.
“The littering fixed-penalty notice should not be increased from £50 but should be payable at a discounted rate of £30 if payment is made promptly. The fly-tipping fixed-penalty notice could be increased to £200, but be discounted to £150 if paid promptly.
“Fly-tipping is a relatively more serious offence and the amount of material to be cleaned up or removed as the result of an offence is usually considerably greater.”
Councillors will be asked to approve the director’s consultation response for Keep Scotland Beautiful on Monday.