Local authorities have called for new powers to tackle car drivers and passengers who throw litter from their vehicles.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 400 councils in England and Wales, says it is a “staggering and spiralling” problem.
Councils outside London find it difficult to fine offenders because the law requires them to positively identify the person throwing the litter. In the capital in 2012, vehicle owners have been liable for a £100 penalty whoever does the deed.
The LGA wants that loophole to be closed, requiring new regulations to bring the rest of the country in line with London.
LGA environment spokesman Peter Box said: “Road litter is a huge and spiralling problem which is threatening to overwhelm some of the nation’s roads. It is difficult – and dangerous – for councils to clear up.
“The litter louts who blight our roads and cost council taxpayers millions in clean-up costs are currently getting away scot-free thanks to a legal loophole.
“We are calling on the Government to urgently give councils the appropriate powers to tackle this issue head-on.”