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Defra cash backs anti-litter projects

A fund has been launched by Defra to support the development of innovative approaches for tackling litter.

Almost £500,000 is available in the Litter Innovation Fund, of which around 10% will be dedicated to projects addressing marine littering, and the most successful could be rolled out more widely.

Defra has also published responses to the public consultation this summer on penalties for environmental offences, including littering. 

Environment minister Therese Coffey said dealing with litter was an important part of the Government’s commitment to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state.

“The Litter Innovation Fund offers a great opportunity for the most creative solutions to littering to receive funding, and for us all to learn new ways of how to stop littering happening,” she said. ”I encourage groups to get involved and showcase the wealth of options to tackle littering. Let’s help people make the right choices.”

Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton, said: “Innovation is vital if we are to change the behaviour of the minority of people who still think it is okay to drop their rubbish on the ground for someone else to pick up.

“Keep Britain Tidy’s Centre for Social Innovation was created to develop and test new approaches to behaviour change, and we are delighted to see that the Government has recognised the importance of innovation to tackle the blight of littering in our country.”

Martin Tett, Local Government Association environment spokesman, said the money would be a boost to councils trying to find new ways of tackling litter.

“Litter and fly-tipping costs council taxpayers around £1bn a year. We would now urge the Government to build further on this encouraging step and hand councils the powers they need to rid communities of litter.

“This includes enacting rules to allow councils to fine the owners of vehicles who litter when driving. Currently, the law states that councils have to prove who in the vehicle had thrown the litter out the window, which is an impossible task.”

London boroughs are currently able to issue a penalty charge notice to the keeper of a vehicle from which litter is thrown, even if they cannot establish the identity of the person who threw the litter. Defra’s consultation on penalties for environmental offences includes the possibility of extending this to other local authorities.

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