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The Sunday Telegraph reports that the Government are to scrap fines for householders who make "innocent mistakes" with their rubbish – such as leaving refuse out for collction on the wrong day, or putting something for reycling which should be categorisd as general waste. Guidance will be issued for councils  reduce the fixed penalty fines from their current level of £75 to £110 to between £60 and £80, with a discounted rate of £40 for early payment. The law will then tightened so that fines can only be issued where a council can prove "harm to local amenity."

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman says:

"Heavy-handed bin fines have for too long been used to punish people for innocent mistakes. We are now consigning them to the scrap heap of history.

"We want to see people helping us to boost recycling rates by putting out their rubbish correctly, but bullying them with fines is not the way to do it. This consultation will mean that only those causing real problems for their community will get punished.

"I want to see this wrong righted as soon as possible, which is why we've written to councils asking them to cut the size of penalties until the law is changed."

"Councils only ever issue bin fines as an absolute last resort when nuisance neighbours have persistently and wilfully caused damage to their local environment or refused to co-operate.

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