Householders are being warned to brush up on wheelie bin rules or be hit with a fixed penalty from their local council. The gardening experts at have looked at the regulations around wheelie bins and when local residents can get fined.

Households can be hit with a fixed penalty if the placement of their bin causes or is likely to cause a nuisance, under section 46A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Examples cited include causing an obstruction to neighbours and restricting access to the pavement or street by leaving bins or waste bags out for several days.

Other reasons for a fixed penalty include if the bins are likely to attract vermin like foxes and rats or if the bin and bags are unsightly. Penalties can be as high as £80, although households do have the right to explain why they shouldn’t have to pay the notice.

The experts are also encouraging homeowners to familiarise themselves with the local council rules on rubbish. Making sure you know what goes into each bin is essential, as is being aware of when garden rubbish is collected. This is often on a different day and may not be an all-year-round service.

They do stress that following a few simple courtesies like only putting your bin out for collection the night before and bringing it in once collected will ensure you don’t fall foul and get slapped with a fine. A spokesperson for Garden Buildings Direct said: “It’s surprising what you can get fined for now, but using some common sense will mean you avoid any issues.

“Some simple bin etiquette will help. Only ever put your bin out on bin day - not days in advance - and once you’re home and it's empty, bring it back to the side or back of the house. Do be careful when leaving them out. Avoid blocking driveways, bus stops, cycle paths and footpaths.

“If you’re going to be away, ask a neighbour or family member to do your bins for you. There’s nothing worse than smelly rubbish sitting in the bin for weeks. Make sure you look after your bin too. If it gets damaged then it's worth contacting your local council. Many will replace or fix them free of charge.

“Finally, and this sounds obvious, but make sure you’re putting your rubbish in the correct bin. Bin colours aren’t uniform across the country so if you’re in a different area, it is important to check. Check too what can go in recycling and garden rubbish. You may be surprised at what is and isn’t allowed.”