Legal Q&A: how can I get local schoolchildren to stop throwing rubbish into my front garden?

Question: I live close to a school. When the children walk past my house on the way home they will often throw litter into my front garden.

I have asked them to stop but I continue to find rubbish in the garden.

Is there anything I can do to stop this nuisance?

Answer: In the first instance the best course of action would be to contact the school head or governors and report the issue to them, accompanied by evidence if possible.

If this does not result in a satisfactory response, then you could contact your local council to report an offence of littering.

The offence is punishable by a fine of up to £2,500 or, alternatively, a fixed-penalty notice may be served on the individual.

Given that schoolchildren will be minors, the punishments are likely to vary accordingly.

From a practical point of view, you may also wish to ask the school or local authority to install bins nearby.

As an additional measure, you could erect a fence or some other type of barrier at the front of your house to make it more difficult for the children to throw litter over, perhaps accompanied by a sign.

One positive thing is that a new Environmental Bill is currently at Second Reading stage in the House of Commons which, if passed into law, will confer new powers on local councils to help them crack down on people creating litter.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

If you have a question for Piers King, email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. Questions cannot be answered individually, but we will try to feature them here.

Piers King is a solicitor in the property department of Streathers Solicitors LLP.

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