News that councils are to be banned from imposing draconian fines on householders for infringements of very minor litter bin rules, such as not closing the lid or putting the bin out on the wrong day, is most welcome to those cynics who suspect that the fines, which can be up to £1,000, are simply funding profligate salaries, pensions and expenses.

Charities could also benefit from the sensible new joined-up thinking, if the experience of charity litter pickers in Dorking is any guide. Officials at Mole Valley district council told them that picking litter for charity did not excempt them from paying excess bin bag collection charges of £95 for the 22 bags they’d filled, a deeply stupid decision that the brave council soldiers reversed when faced with well-earned bad publicity.

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