Defra’s upcoming litter strategy will focus on improving enforcement, resources minister Therese Coffey has said.
In response to a written question from Labour MP Julie Elliott, Coffey said the plan will also focus on education, awareness, better cleansing and litter infrastructure.
She said these “key themes” would be supported by specific actions under each objective.
“We are keen to publish the strategy as soon as we can and a great deal of work is being done to achieve this,” she added.
Elliott also asked what assessment had be made of local government funding cuts on litter and fly-tipping.
The Local Government Association has said continued cuts in central Government funding have led to a 40% real terms reduction in council funding since 2011.
But Coffey insisted the local government finance settlement, announced on 15 December, means councils’ core spending power is set to increase from £44.5bn in 2015-16 to £44.7bn in 2019-20.
Conservative MP Anne Main asked what estimate had been made of the cost of clearing litter.
To this, Coffey said her department did not know an exact figure, but estimated “the annual cost to local government of clearing litter in England runs to hundreds of millions of pounds”.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has announced it will introduce statutory litter guidance in the coming months.
It said the guidance will encourage duty holders to attach greater priority to preventing litter from arising in the first place, and aim to reduce the amount of resources being spent on cleaning up other people’s mess.
Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham signalled her commitment to revising the Code of Practice for Litter and Refuse while visiting Edinburgh City Council’s smart bin scheme.
Pictured below left to right: Edinburgh council’s environment convener, Lesley Hinds, and Cunningham
Hinds and cunningham litter 2