The Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court has convicted two individuals, upheld over $2,400 worth of fines handed down by Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and ruled the pair must pay over $3,500 towards EPA’s court costs.
Both the accused elected to challenge their EPA fines in court on Thursday 16 March claiming they had not committed the offences.
The court heard that one of those charged had been fined by EPA for littering from their Holden Caprice on three separate occasions in April and July 2016.
The fines, totalling $1,836, were issued following three separate community reports to EPA that said they had seen the driver throw lit cigarette butts from their vehicle on two occasions in Coburg and once in Tullamarine.
The court also heard that in May 2016, at Bulla Road, Essendon North, a member of the public witnessed a lit cigarette being deposited by the driver of a Toyota and EPA subsequently fined this person $607.
EPA Executive Director of Regulatory Practice and Strategy Chris Webb said EPA would like to thank the community for taking the time to report drivers littering in their streets.
“These court results really reinforce the value of the Victorian community reporting in holding litterers to account,” Mr Webb said.
“Littering pollutes our roadsides, chokes our waterways and can threaten our wildlife. And throwing lit cigarettes out your car window is a serious fire hazard.
“The decision also highlights that everyone issued with a litter fine has the right to request that EPA review the matter or to have it determined in court. The outcomes also illustrate the robustness of EPA’s litter program.”
Last financial year, EPA handed out over $6.5 million in fines to more than 15,000 Victorians for discarding litter from their vehicles.
“This is a cost easily avoided by simply changing habits and properly disposing of litter. Our streets are not a dustbin,” Mr Webb said.
EPA litter fines range from $311 for a small piece of rubbish or unlit cigarette up to $622 for a lit cigarette.
People can report littering via EPA’s website, through its smartphone litter app, or by calling 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).
People will need the following information when reporting:
1. Who? Car details, registration number, colour, whether it was the driver or passenger, gender of litterer.
2. What? Lit or unlit cigarette or a description of the litter item.
3. When? Exact time and date of offence.
4. Where? Where was the car, what road was it travelling on, in which suburb? What intersection was closest?
5. How? How was the litter deposited – was it thrown from vehicle, dropped before exiting vehicle or dropped before getting into a car?