Ministers have unveiled the Government’s first Litter Strategy for England, which includes plans to fine drivers for litter thrown from their vehicle by passengers.
The strategy, announced by environment secretary Andrea Leadsom, aims to reduce ‘the near £800m burden to the taxpayer of clean-up costs’.
Under the plans, the most serious litterers could receive fines of £150, while vehicle owners could receive penalty notices when it can be proved litter was thrown from their car – even if it was discarded by somebody else – a provision that is already in force in London.
Transport minister John Hayes
The plans have been drawn up by environment department Defra, the Department for Transport and communities department DCLG.
Transport minister John Hayes said: ‘Litter on our roads is a major and costly problem to deal with. It makes our roads look messy, can threaten wildlife and even increase the risk of flooding by blocking drains.
‘To combat this needless blight on our landscape, I am working with Highways England to target the worst 25 litter hotspots on our road network, on which hundreds of thousands of sacks are collected every year with the clean-up bill running into millions of pounds.’
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘It is potentially a shrewd move from the Government to make the owner liable for a fine if anyone is spotted littering from a vehicle as this might be more likely to bring about a positive change in behaviour.‘
The Government has launched a consultation on the new enforcement measures. It said guidance will be issued to councils to accompany any new enforcement powers, ‘to make sure they are targeted at cutting litter, while preventing over-zealous enforcement or fines being used to raise revenue’.
Other proposed measures include:
- Issuing new guidance for councils to be able to update the nation’s ‘binfrastructure’ through creative new designs and better distribution of public litter bins, making it easier for people to discard rubbish.
- Stopping councils from charging householders for disposal of DIY household waste at civic amenity sites (rubbish dumps) – legally, household waste is supposed to be free to dispose of at such sites.
- Recommending that offenders on community sentences, including people caught fly-tipping, help councils clear up litter and fly-tipped waste.
- Creating a ‘green generation’ by educating children to lead the fight against litter through an increased number of Eco-Schools and boosting participation in national clean-up days.
- Creating a new expert group to look at further ways of cutting the worst kinds of litter, including plastic bottles and drinks containers, cigarette ends and fast food packaging.