Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN)
The council introduced the use of fixed penalty notices to cover a wide range of environmental offences in February 2010.
Environment and neighbourhood officers employed and authorised by Epping Forest District Council can offer offenders the opportunity to pay a fixed penalty within 14 days of being issued with a notice, as an alternative to going to court, for a number of different offences. The full list of offences and penalties can be found here
FPN are designed to deal with the low grade anti-social behaviour that takes up a disproportionate amount of time and money in prosecuting through the courts compared with the fines imposed.
Among the offences for which a FPN may be issued are littering, graffiti, fly-posting, and dog fouling. For some offences, anyone offered the opportunity to discharge their responsibility for prosecution of an offence by payment of a fixed penalty will get a discount if they pay within 10 days.
Perpetrators who are offered an opportunity to avoid court action for a relevant offence by paying a FPN will still have the right to elect to go to court for their case to be heard if they feel they have been treated unjustly.
However, anyone found guilty in court will receive a criminal record whereas payment of the fixed penalty notice will represent a complete discharge of the offence with no criminal record and they will avoid any potential additional legal costs if they were to be found guilty in court.
FPN are issued by the council’s environment and neighbourhood officers. No offenders will be offered a FPN on the spot and there are no “on the spot” fines. Officers will never ask for cash or payment in person and will only issue a FPN on return to the office, when the details of the offender have been verified. Officers may issue an alleged offender with an incident ticket to record the alleged offence, but this is not a FPN.
Frequently asked questions
1. Can I appeal against a FPN?
There is no formal appeals procedure against a FPN. If the council has offered a perpetrator the opportunity to pay a FPN, the council has already decided that there is sufficient evidence to pursue prosecution proceedings if the FPN is unpaid. Alleged offenders can choose not to pay a FPN and put their case forward in court if they or their representative attend court at a later stage.
2. Will the Council accept instalments to pay a FPN?
The council will not accept payment of FPN in instalments
3. Will the Council accept late payment of a FPN?
The timescale for paying a FPN are clearly marked on any fixed penalty offer. The council does not issue any reminders and will not normally accept any late payments.