Fines issued for urinating in public lay-bys on busy dual carriageway

We have taken action against the continuing scourge of littering and fly-tipping along the A41 dual carriageway. This includes tackling the impact of urinating and human defecation in lay-bys, which creates an unpleasant experience for drivers wishing to stop for a rest, to care for children or for emergencies - the purpose for which the lay-bys are intended.

Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) are issued for urinating in public lay-bys, along a busy stretch of the A41 dual carriageway, and not "wild wees" in woodlands or countryside.   

In 2023, as part of the Great British Spring Clean campaign, our teams completed a thorough clear-up of the A41 - from the M25 junction at Kings Langley to the roundabout at Tring, on both sides of the carriageway. A crew of 20 staff collected five tonnes of litter in seven days, with two HGV sweepers collecting a further 69 tonnes of rubbish and debris from the road. This activity also identified that a small number of lay-bys were routinely being used by hundreds of people as toilets, despite services (toilets) being within five minutes.

Last year (2023), we issued more than 2,600 FPNs for littering offences (including 785 for urinating). We have also dealt with more than 1,900 fly-tipping reports in Dacorum, with 52 fly-tipping cases along the A41. Removal and disposal cost local taxpayers’ more than £100,000.

FPNs are just one part of our proportional approach, and also helps to fund educational programmes and preventative activities to tackle littering and fly-tipping in the borough. We remain committed to ensuring that lay-bys are useable areas for all and will continue to work to reduce littering within them (including urination and defecation). 

We have sought independent legal advice on the use of littering FPNs for urination, as have many other councils, and we are satisfied that urination can be covered by the relevant legislation.

We acknowledge that each case, and resulting FPN, has to be assessed on its own merits. We take account of the specific location and any particular characteristics of the individual involved. There is also a right of representation to challenge the FPN. This process has resulted in FPNs being rescinded in specific circumstances, including medical conditions.