Brighton shop owner fined for putting cardboard in residential bin Brighton News

Sarah Reason, who runs Soliflore in Dyke Road, said she “burst into tears” when she was served with the fixed penalty notice for putting cardboard and a paper bag from the Brighton fragrance shop into a recycling bin in nearby Compton Avenue,  where she has lived for 13 years.

An environment officer from the council had found a cardboard box in the bin with Ms Reason’s name and shop address on.

The 44-year-old says the fine is not proportionate and is “unnecessarily punitive” for a new business trading for only a few weeks.

She also spoke of her frustration at being unable to appeal the fine and said there was no warning on the bin about any sort of fine.

“It’s absolute complete and utter madness,” she said.

“How can I be fined £400 and given no warning and no opportunity to appeal?

“The environmental officer at the time told me I could appeal.

“It’s totally disproportionate to any other fine where you have the fine reduced by 50 per cent if you pay within a certain date for example.

“A very heavy-handed approach that lumps tiny shopkeepers in with real commercial flytippers and those that dump rubbish deliberately out of their own areas.

“I never thought in a million years that a flat packed cardboard box put in a recycling bin would be the wrong thing to do.

The Argus: A piece of cardboard with the shop owner's name and address was found in the bagA piece of cardboard with the shop owner’s name and address was found in the bag (Image: Brighton and Hove City Council)

“It’s a bit of cardboard.


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“This is taking flytipping and rubbish laws to extreme.”

Ms Reason said Brighton and Hove City Council should be more supportive of small businesses and said the shop has had a positive effect on the Seven Dials area.

“It’s a risky thing opening a shop, a brave thing to do,” she said.

The Argus: Soliflore has only been open for a few weeksSoliflore has only been open for a few weeks (Image: The Argus/Andrew Gardner)

“There is nothing like this shop in Brighton, Lewes, Hastings or Tunbridge Wells.

“My shop is doing wonders for the Dials.

“We should be supporting local businesses.

“£400 is a huge amount of money.”

Ms Reason said she contacted council leader Bella Sankey and MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas which led to the council reviewing the fine.

But the council upheld the fine over the incident, which happened in December.

A council spokesman said: “Businesses have a legal duty to ensure that any commercial waste relating to their business is disposed of legally through a waste management company.

“Those who fail to do so are at risk of receiving fixed penalty notices for disposing of commercial waste illegally.

“The body-worn video camera evidence we gathered in relation to this case shows a scenario that is significantly different to what has been portrayed.

The Argus: Sarah Reason outside her shopSarah Reason outside her shop (Image: The Argus/Andrew Gardner)

“We are satisfied that the fixed penalty notice in question has been issued correctly, in line with national legislation and our environmental enforcement framework.

“We understand the current financial climate is hard for small businesses. With this in mind we review our fixed penalty notices on a case-by-case basis, and alternative payment options may be offered in certain circumstances.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-05 05:00:00

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