The government has announced they are cracking down on litter louts as the maximum on-the-spot penalty fine is almost doubling in price.
From today (April 1) car owners as well as litterers on the street can be fined up to £150 for dropping rubbish as the penalty has increased from £80.
For the first time ever, local authorities can use these penalties on vehicle owners if they can prove litter was thrown from the car.
With one in seven motorists admitting they chuck rubbish out from their car window, potentially millions could be penalised with the fine.
The government has made it absolutely clear councils must not abuse this power and will have to take into account circumstances like the ability to pay.
Local authorities have therefore been given guidance as to how to impose the penalties in a ‘fair and proportionate way’.
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The changes were announced in a press release on the government’s website earlier today.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:
These new fines will tackle antisocial behaviour by hitting litter louts in the pocket, whether it’s litter that is thrown from a vehicle or dropped in the street.
Littering is a scourge on our environment and we waste taxpayers’ money cleaning it up – funds which could be better spent in the community.
We want to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it, and I encourage everyone to take responsibility for their litter and recycle more.
Last year keeping England’s streets clean cost almost £700 million as over 200,000 sacks of litter were removed from roads.
If people did not litter, this issue would be avoidable and the money could then be spent elsewhere in the community.
Edmund King OBE, president of motoring organisation the AA, gave the new penalties the thumbs up saying:
There is no excuse for car litter louts. Tossing rubbish from vehicles spoils the environment, costs millions and puts road workers’ lives at risk when they have to clear up.
The majority of our members support higher fines for littering and we welcome these steps to tackle this unnecessary problem. It is not difficult for car occupants to bag it and bin it.
When AA employees have conducted litter picks and our members have surveyed local roadside litter, we are always astonished at the number of plastic bottles, take-away wrappers and even kitchen sinks discarded at the roadside.
The changes follow a public consultation carried out in April 2017 which was a part of England’s first ever Litter Strategy.
During the survey, nearly nine out of 10 respondents were in favour of increasing the fines for littering, wanting to eliminate the problem.
The new penalty is only one of a series of measures the government have introduced to protect the environment.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will also be extending the landfill tax to cover unauthorised waste sites, there are plans to introduce a deposit return scheme for drink containers and microbeads are being banned.
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.