People caught dropping litter in Bristol could face fines of up to £75 as part of a new enforcement campaign.
During last night's State of the City address, Mayor Marvin Rees announced plans to crackdown on littering in the city.
From next month, tougher enforcement measures will be put in place to target people who persist in dropping litter, leaving dog mess behind or defacing property with graffiti.
The council will be running an initial pilot with Kingdom, which works with local authorities across the country to tackle environmental crime.
The service will be delivered at no cost to the council, as the costs will be met through the payment of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs). Proceeds from the on-the-spot fines will be directed back into tackling environmental issues across the city.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees has made a pledge that Bristol will be measurably cleaner by 2020.
Street-cleaning currently costs £6 million per year and last year around 7,000 tonnes of waste was collected from street cleansing rounds.
The Mayor said: “Keeping Bristol clean is everyone’s responsibility. I launched the Clean Streets Campaign to encourage people to step up and help keep their local community clean and tidy.
“Although the response has been positive among schools, community groups and individuals, litter remains a huge issue for the city.
“For this reason we have decided to take a tougher stance on enforcement, and are bringing in a specialist company to help us target people who continue to think it is acceptable to use Bristol as their own personal dustbin.
“Picking up litter costs the city a massive amount of money at a time when we are having to make severe cut backs to vital services.
“We will not tolerate mindless littering in Bristol, it is time for us to take pride in our city and stamp out this thoughtless behaviour.”
Although the council is looking to crack down on littering in the city, an agreement has been put in place to make sure that the provider will not be paid per FPN.
In addition, individual officers will not be offed commission linked to the number of FPNs issued, and fines will not be handed out to people under 18 or people thought to lack capacity.
Kingdom’s Operations Director John Dunne, said: “Kingdom is delighted to be working in partnership with Bristol City Council with the aim of reducing the amount of littering and dog fouling occurring on streets and public places in Bristol.
“Kingdom has an extensive track record in dealing with these activities with local authorities across the country. In addition, staff are recruited locally, and work is carried out in a way that best reflects the councils' priorities.
“We will be using trained and experienced teams to work in collaboration with the council’s in-house teams in identified hotspots. Our aim is to reduce the amount of litter unlawfully dropped, resulting in a safer, greener and cleaner city."
Initially the enforcement company will focus on the city centre for a trial period. If the arrangement is successful, the service may expand to include other areas of the city.
People who don’t pay their fines could be taken to court and incur costs of up to £2,500.
The move has been supported by community groups in the city.
Ben Barker, community activist from Greater Bedminster said: “Most people understand that litter is a ‘bad thing’. It disfigures our beautiful parks and makes our retail districts unattractive to all apart from rats, and often it smells. Most people understand, and are prepared to help by picking up or not dropping litter, but a few haven’t got the message or don’t care.
“The council’s new enforcement policy will help to bring this minority in line with the rest of us and make us proud to live in Bristol.”
Raluca McKett, who runs the Malago Greenway Community Project, said: "We believe that environmental crime is a complex issue. And like any complex issue, there is no easy solution for it. We always strive to educate and help people understand how much damage the littering can do - not only to the environment, but also to people.
“But when that doesn't work, sometimes a tougher stance must be taken - if people don't care about anything else, at least they care about their pockets. We hope that the enforcement will show people that littering is not acceptable and that there are better ways to deal with rubbish."
The new enforcement team will free up council officers to tackle larger problems including fly tipping, abandoned vehicles, noise complaints, and dealing with dangerous and stray dogs.
Kingdom will begin issuing fines from Monday 6 November.