Littering drivers to face fines up to £150
Maximum fines for dropping rubbish are set to almost double – while car-driving litter louts will be forced to pay up even if their passenger is the culprit.
The current fine limit for littering is £80 but that will rise to £150 in April 2018, with motorists becoming a major target for councils.
Meanwhile, the minimum penalty will go up from £50 to £65 and the default fine will rise from £75 to £100.
In future, town halls will also be able to impose fines on the owners of vehicles which litter was thrown, even if it was distracted by someone else.
Legislation will be introduced by the end of this year to bring in the proposals, subject to parliamentary approval, next year.
The changes come after a survey showed that 81 per cent of people were angered by the levels of litter on our streets and in the countryside. Cleaning it up costs taxpayers £800 million a year, according to Whitehall figures.
The crackdown is hoped to tackle the coffee cups, fast food packaging, cigarette butts and nappies which litter major roads and motorways.
One in seven motorists has admitted to throwing rubbish out of their car, with 200,000 sacks of litter removed from England’s motorways and trunk roads every year.
Environment minister Therese Coffey said: “Littering blights our communities, spoils our countryside and taxpayers’ money is wasted cleaning it up.
“Throwing rubbish from a vehicle is just as unacceptable as dropping it in the street and we will tackle this anti-social behaviour by hitting litter louts in the pocket.
“These new fines will make sure the perpetrators, not the local community, bear the cost of keeping our streets and roads clean.”
Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s (LGA) environment spokesman, said councils had long called for greater powers to tackle littering and the measures were a “hugely positive step in the right direction”.
“Councils being able to issue increased fines to litter louts who show no consideration for the community they live in will send a strong message to those who think their laziness is more important than the environment in which they live,” he said.
“Allowing councils to fine the owners of vehicles which litter is thrown from, rather than expecting councils to prove who exactly in the vehicle had thrown litter, is also something that the LGA has long called for.
“It is great that from April, councils will be able to get tough with the anti-social minority who think our roads are a repository for rubbish.”
He said town halls now needed to see more detail in the forthcoming guidance, warning that while recognising any action must be proportionate, it must also be robust to deter littering.
Edmund King, president of motoring organisation the AA, said: “There is absolutely no excuse for car litter louts. Their selfish actions spoil the landscape and put road workers lives at risk when they have to clear up the mess.”
He said 82% of drivers supported increasing litter fines to £150, with just 6% opposing the move.
“It is not difficult for car occupants to bag their litter and bin it in the right place,” he said.