Fixed penalty notices

A fixed penalty notice (sometimes called an FPN) is an ‘on the spot’ fine for committing criminal offences such as:

  • littering
  • flytipping
  • failing to clear up after your dog, or having a dog off lead in a restricted area
  • abandoning a vehicle
  • breaching a public space protection order or trade waste notice

Our Public Realm Enforcement team can issue a fixed penalty notice instead of prosecuting you for any of the above offences. If you receive one there’s no right of appeal. All action undertaken by our staff is in accordance with our enforcement policy.

If you receive a fixed penalty notice you have two options.

  • If you pay the fine in full within 14 days, no further action will be taken. This does not constitute an admission of guilt, but it does mean you avoid being prosecuted for the offence.
  • If you want to dispute the serving of the notice, you must attend court to have your case heard. You must wait for the court summons if you wish the case to be heard by a magistrate.

If you want the case to go to court you should consider contacting a solicitor or your local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice. Take into account what evidence might be presented in court.

If the court rules against you, you might be liable to pay more than the original fine. You might also be given a criminal record, and be ordered to pay the cost of bringing the case to court.

Pay your fixed penalty notice

Pay your fixed penalty notice online

You can also call us on 01223 457700 to pay by phone, or pay in person at our customer service centre.

Alternatively you can send a cheque to us at Cambridge City Council, Customer Service Centre, PO Box 700, Cambridge CB1 0JH.

Remember to quote the fixed penalty notice serial number.

Failure to pay within 14 days of the date shown on the notice will result in prosecution.

Payment must be made in full – we do not accept payment by instalments. The officer that issues you with a notice cannot take payment from you.

Further information

We issue fixed penalty notices to try to change offenders’ behaviour, and to resolve offences quickly without court proceedings.

We’ll issue a fixed penalty notice whenever we witness or have evidence of an offence having been committed. Not all local authorities do this, but in Cambridge we take a zero-tolerance approach to environmental crime and the offences listed above.

Fixed penalty notices are usually issued immediately, but they can be served through the post after the offence has occurred.

As part of the process of issuing you with a notice, we’ll ask to see identification to validate the details you give us. You’re under no legal requirement to provide it – but it’s a further offence to provide incorrect details or refuse to provide details.

Issuing a fixed penalty notice can take time. Our officers will always act fairly and impartially, and will base their actions on their observations. We won’t target any individual over another if we see multiple offences committed at the same time.

A complaint about the officer's conduct is not a reasonable defence and the fixed penalty notice must still be paid.

Litter legislation has been in force for many years, and it is an offence to not immediately clear up after your dog. Ignorance of the litter or dog mess is not an excuse. We have placed litter and dog bins in many locations around the city – it is your responsibility to carry your litter or dog mess until you see a bin.

Signage for sites with restricted activity (dogs on leads or restrictions on touting) are clearly displayed at the sites where specific restrictions apply. There is not a legal requirement for the council to display signage for city wide telling people not to litter or flytip.

The littering offence relates to the initial dropping and leaving of litter, including dropping cigarette butts into a drain. We’ll issue a fine if we witness it happening, regardless of whether you later pick it up or volunteer to pick it up.

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