Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Litter nuisances

Litter nuisances

What you must do

You must ensure that any waste produced, stored, transported or disposed of by your business does not harm the environment. This is known as your duty of care, and you must ensure that you:

  • store and transport your waste appropriately and securely to prevent it from escaping
  • check that your waste is transported and handled by people or businesses that are authorised to do so
  • complete waste transfer notes to record all waste you transfer and keep them as a record for at least two years.

See our guide on the duty of care - your waste responsibilities

If you fail to deal with a litter problem, your local council could issue you with a fine.

Street litter control notices

If it can be proved that certain litter problems have been caused by your business, your local council can issue a street litter control notice against you. This notice forces your business to clear the litter and introduces specific measures to prevent the recurrence of littering.

If you do not comply with your street litter control notice, you can be prosecuted. Alternatively, the local council may issue you with a fixed penalty notice.

Outdoor advertising

If you want to advertise your business using outdoor signs, you must ensure that you do not cause a litter nuisance. Your outdoor advertisements must:

  • be kept clean and tidy
  • be kept in a safe condition
  • be displayed with the permission of the owner of the site
  • not obscure official road, rail, waterway or aircraft signs or make hazardous the use of these types of transport
  • be removed carefully when required.

Depending on the type of advertising your business wants to use, you may need advertising consent from your local council. Subject to conditions, you do not need consent to display signs in the following areas:

  • enclosed land - eg bus or train stations and sports stadiums
  • inside your own building.

Some other signs can be displayed without consent, provided they conform to certain conditions and limitations. This includes signs relating to hotels, bed and breakfasts, and houses.

You may need consent to display the following advertisements:

  • posters
  • illuminated signs
  • gable-end advertising
  • shop-front fascias.

Further information

Tidy Northern Ireland: Litter information

Keep Scotland Beautiful: Code of practice on litter

Northern Ireland Planning: Outdoor advertisements

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