We receive a wide variety of complaints about dumped rubbish. They are handled differently, depending on the relevant legislation.
It is an offence under the Litter Act 1979 for any person or body corporate to deposit or leave litter of any kind in a public place or on any private land without the prior consent of its occupier.
Action under the Litter Act can be taken when there is evidence as to who the offender is, for example:
- an eyewitness recording a car registration number
- letters with addresses within the rubbish itself
When rubbish is deposited with the consent of the landowner, such as people simply failing to remove their refuse from their property and a nuisance situation is created, the Health Act 1956 is used to instigate follow up action. Visit our Nuisance Properties page for more information.
The Complaint Process
If you have a complaint regarding litter or rubbish, contact the Environmental Services unit, phone (06) 374 4080 (north) or 06 376 0011 (south). In most cases we will simply make a formal request to the offender to remove the rubbish within a stipulated time frame.
In some cases, we will issue instant fines, particularly when the problem is significantly dangerous or offensive.
Although prosecution can be taken under both pieces of legislation, this is very rare. It is the most likely course of action when offenders fail to remove the rubbish, offend repeatedly or when the offence is of such a serious nature that it poses a significant risk to public health.