Fines for littering are to be nearly doubled, and a change in the law will mean that motorists can be prosecuted when litter is thrown from their cars, regardless of who was responsible.
Defra minister Therese Coffey announced the changes, saying the fines will ensure that “perpetrators, not the local community” will bear the £800m annual cost of keeping roads clean.
Maximum on-the-spot fines for dropping litter will increase from £80 to £150 from April, with the minimum increasing from £50 to £65. The default will rise from £75 to £100. Councils will also be able to impose these fines on the owners of vehicles from which litter is thrown, even if it was discarded by someone else.
Coffey said: “Littering blights our communities, spoils our countryside and taxpayers’ money is wasted cleaning it up.
“Throwing rubbish from a vehicle is just as unacceptable as dropping it in the street, and we will tackle this antisocial behaviour by hitting litter louts in the pocket.
“These new fines will make sure the perpetrators, not the local community, bear the cost of keeping our streets and roads clean.”
The changes follow a public consultation as part of England’s Litter Strategy.
But Defra is warning councils not to abuse their powers, saying they must take into account local circumstances when setting the level of these fines.
Additional guidance on this will be issued “around the turn of the year”.
Martin Tett, environment spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said the announcement was a “hugely positive step in the right direction”.
“Allowing councils to fine the owners of vehicles which litter is thrown from, rather than expecting councils to prove who exactly in the vehicle had thrown litter, is also something that the LGA has long called for. It is great that from April, councils will be able to get tough with the anti-social minority who think our roads are a repository for rubbish.
“We now need to see more detail in the forthcoming Government guidance. Whilst recognising that any action must be proportionate, it must also be robust to deter abuse of the local environment.
”It is frequently the more deprived communities that suffer most from litter louting and where the demand for more enforcement is loudly heard. Local authorities are keen to get on with the job of tackling anti-social litter louts, and delivering local environments that our residents can be proud of.”
- This story was updated at 10.08 on 25 November to include the quote from Martin Tett