Waste Management

10.04.17

Litterers to face heavy fines or community service under new strategy

Litterers could be slapped with fines of up to £150 or face community service as part of a new government drive to crackdown on rubbish covering the country’s roads, pavements and green areas.

The guidance released today in the government’s litter strategy for England has recommended that the most serious litterers, including motorists who throw litter from their car, could be facing large fines for chucking their rubbish, even if it was discarded by someone else in their vehicle.  

In his foreword, Lord Gardiner of Kimble added that to ensure these powers are used appropriately by local councils “we will also publish improved guidance for councils on their enforcement functions”.

Littering puts a financial burden of £800m a year on to the taxpayer for cleaning up, leading the government to introduce the new harsher measures.

An FoI request in 2015 also revealed that incidents of fly-tipping rose to 529,000 a year, a 12% increase from 2012 and cost councils £16.2m to clean up.

On top of the fines, other measures have been put in place by the government, including a reminder to councils to not charge residents for getting rid of their waste at DIY civic amenity sites.

However, the strategy states that “formal enforcement action against littering and other environmental offences should only be taken when it is proportionate and in the public interest to do so”.

By the end of this Parliament, the government also intends to review the mechanism by which councils can be held to account for maintaining their land to the standards set out in the Code of Practice.

Though councils are legally required not to charge for such services, many were found to still be making people pay up to £4 to get rid of their waste.

The new legislation comes following local authorities last year being given the power to fine fly-tippers on the spot fines of up to £400.

Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom said that she hoped the strategy would build an “anti-litter culture” that encouraged people to get rid of their waste responsibly.

“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, she added.

“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”.

Communities minister Marcus Jones stated that now was the time to consign “louts and fly-tippers to the scrap heap of history”.

“Our plans include targeting the worst litter hotspots, cracking down on litter louts with increased fines and getting people to bin their rubbish properly,” he said. “For too long a selfish minority have got away with spoiling our streets. It’s time we sent them a clear message – clean up or face having to cough up.”

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