New laws to punish litter louts ‘must be sped up’

Stop the Drop campaign manager for the CPRE, Samantha Harding
Stop the Drop campaign manager for the CPRE, Samantha Harding
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THE YORKSHIRE Post is adding its voice to calls to speed up the implementation of new rules that would make it easier for councils to punish those who allow litter to be thrown for their cars.

Food packaging, bottles and cans and cigarette ends thrown from car windows are the biggest contributor to litter around roads and verges, especially in rural areas, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said.

It campaigned for six years for legislation within the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to be amended so that local councils no longer had to prove exactly who threw litter from a vehicle in order to issue a fine.

The amendment was confirmed in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, but now officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have brought the process to a halt by commissioning further research to see whether the new regulations are needed.

The need for change was also raised by the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee, which published the results of its inquiry into litter in March. Committee chairman Clive Betts called England a “litter-ridden country” compared to most of Europe and Japan, and said the Government should also consider increasing the Fixed Penalty Notice for littering.

Stop the Drop campaign manager for the CPRE, Samantha Harding, said: “I hear from people every week who are shocked and disgusted at the state of our roadsides. These new powers should mean councils can finally make sure littering from vehicles isn’t a consequence-free crime. However, the delays mean the Government has inadvertently created two pieces of legislation that are meaningless and councils remain powerless.

“We want to push for these delays to be overturned and the guidance to be provided so that enforcement can be extended across the country- something that is well overdue.”

A Defra spokeswoman said the Government is considering the recommendations of the CLG report and will be responding “in due course.”

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