Drop litter and be fined £150 under new Government plans

New guidance for councils will be issued to update "binfrastructure"
New guidance for councils will be issued to update "binfrastructure"

Litter louts could face fines of up to £150 for dropping rubbish, under plans unveiled by the Government.

People who litter the streets could face increased fixed penalties while the owners of vehicles could be fined if rubbish is thrown from their car by any driver or passenger, under measures being consulted on as part of a national litter strategy.

Ministers will also stop councils charging householders for disposing of DIY household waste at the tip, as it legally should be free to dispose of such waste at municipal waste sites and they warn the charges can contribute to fly-tipping.

The Government also wants offenders on community service, including fly-tippers, to help clean up the streets.

New guidance for councils will be issued to update "binfrastructure" with new designs and better distribution of public litter bins to make it easier for people to discard rubbish.

Officials will work with Highways England to target the 25 worst litter hotspots on the road network, while there are also plans to create a "green generation" by educating children to lead the fight against litter and boost participation in national clean-up days.

The litter strategy aims to send "a clear and consistent anti-litter message" by developing a national anti-littering campaign, although the Government wants most of the funding for it to come from the private, public and voluntary sector.

According to the Government's strategy, street cleaning cost local authorities in England £778 million, a significant proportion of which was avoidable litter clean-up and the money could have been spent on vital public services.

Four-fifths of people are angry and frustrated by the amount of litter around the country, and 28 to 30% perceive it to be a problem in their area, the National Crime Survey has found.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: "Litter is something that affects us all, blighting our countryside, harming our wildlife, polluting our seas, spoiling our towns and giving visitors a poor impression of our country.

"Our litter strategy will tackle this antisocial behaviour by building an anti-litter culture; making it easier for people to dispose of rubbish and hitting litter louts in the pocket.

"We want to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it and tackling litter is an important part of our drive to make the country a better place to live and visit."

Local Government Association chairman Lord Porter welcomed the move to allow councils to fine the owners of vehicles that litter has been thrown out of, which is already in place in London.

"Road litter is a big problem for councils at a time when they are experiencing significant budget pressures. It is difficult and expensive to clear rubbish from roadsides and it poses a clear environmental hazard, which impacts on wildlife.

"The current law states that councils have to prove who in the vehicle has thrown the litter out of the window, which is normally an impossible task.

"That is why it is important that councils can now fine the owners, making them legally responsible for the litter, regardless of who threw it."

He added: "Councils want to work with households so that they can dispose of reasonable household waste easily and cost-effectively and already provide a range of bulky waste collection services, which are often free and picked up from people's doorsteps."