YP Comment: Don't blame councils for litter

two salient words appear to be missing from the Government's new strategy to combat litter '“ personal responsibility. It's not the fault of local councils that parks, beauty spots and beaches were left resembling rubbish tips following the weekend heatwave because some families were too lazy to clean up after themselves.

It’s not the fault of local councils that parks, beauty spots and beaches were left resembling rubbish tips following the weekend heatwave because some families were too lazy to clean up after themselves.

Yet, given the problem appears more pronounced than 30 years ago when Margaret Thatcher and Richard Branson launched a campaign to rid the nation’s streets of litter, Ministers are duty-bound to look again at the issue.

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There is a case to be made for councils not charging residents to dump bulky waste at local authority rubbish tips – this will mean there’s no excuse for flytipping, though a consequence will be less money for the provision of additional bins and so on.

There’s also merit to challenging take-away and fast food outlets to do more to clear up litter-strewn streets near their premises – it is, after all, their clientele that is contributing to the problem. A business rate discount for the cleanest districts could be an incentive.

And while Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom’s desire to fine offenders up to £150 signals a determination on her part, she negates to mention the small matter of enforcement. That’s why the best solution remains the cheapest and closest to home – civic pride where responsible householders are asked to spend a small amount of time picking up litter each week. If they did so in sufficient numbers, the collective effort would be considerable and might shame offenders into changing their behaviour as a consequence.