Bath businesses slapped with fines as numbers punished soar

The number of rubbish fines issued to businesses by Bath and North East Somerset Council in 2023 compared to 2022 rose five-fold - from 36 to 195. Information gained from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request also revealed that 180 fines have already been issued so far in 2024, with every fine costing £100.

Bath business-owner Tim Coffey, who owns the the Herd Steak Restaurant on Argyle Street, and who made the FOI request, said: "I was absolutely astounded. It's impossible to say that businesses have changed their behaviour towards waste so much from one year to the next."

Mr Coffey, who says he's received the equivalent of £1,200 in rubbish fines, has argued that the fines were issued wrongly and has called on BANES to "support us, not bash us". Bins are emptied twice a day in Bath and handled by machinery in rubbish trucks. People have allegedly been fined after the machinery damaged the locks or lids, while business owners also have to put out their rubbish at very precise times to avoid penalties.

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The full number of rubbish fines issued to businesses since 2017 is as follows:

  • 2017 – 38

  • 2018 – 16

  • 2019 – 25

  • 2020 – 6

  • 2021 – 49

  • 2022 – 36

  • 2023 – 195

  • 2024 - 180

The statistics show a more-or-less stable number of fines being issued until 2020, when only six fines were issued during the first year of the pandemic. However, 2023 saw a shocking surge in fines (see graph). 180 fines issued so far in 2024 would have netted £18,000.

Things you can buy with £18,000:

  • A year's rent in an apartment worth £1,500 a month

  • Two pairs of diamond and rose gold earrings from Fabergé

  • 313 tickets to see Hamilton on the West End

  • 31 real Prada bags

  • 46 brand new PlayStation 5 consoles

  • Three new Rolex watches

Councillor Tim Ball, cabinet member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “In light of concerns raised by members, businesses, residents and visitors and to ensure the city is managed in line with its world heritage status, the council appointed a new city centre waste enforcement officer to target ongoing waste presentation issues more closely.

"Managing waste in a busy urban area is a partnership between those who generate and present the waste and those who collect it - both need to take responsibility to prevent increased mess and vermin, including gulls.

"Businesses wishing to organise a waste or recycling collection can arrange this via the council website."