Defra published litter strategy

Litter louts could be hit with £150 fines as part of ambitious new plans to tackle rubbish in England.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom unveiled the Government’s first Litter Strategy for England to reduce the near £800m burden to the taxpayer of clean-up costs. Under the new measures, the most serious litterers could be hit with the £150 fines, while vehicle owners could receive penalty notices when it can be proved litter was thrown from their car – even if it was discarded by somebody else. The new motoring rules, which are already in force in London, make owners liable even if they didn’t throw the litter themselves.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:

Litter is something that affects us all – blighting our countryside, harming our wildlife, polluting our seas, spoiling our towns, and giving visitors a poor impression of our country.

Our litter strategy will tackle this antisocial behaviour by building an anti-litter culture; making it easier for people to dispose of rubbish; and hitting litter louts in the pocket.

We want to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it, and tackling litter is an important part of our drive to make the country a better place to live and visit.

Further new measures drawn up by environment, transport and communities departments include:

  • Issuing new guidance for councils to be able to update the nation’s ‘binfrastructure’ through creative new designs and better distribution of public litter bins, making it easier for people to discard rubbish.
  • Stopping councils from charging householders for disposal of DIY household waste at civic amenity sites (rubbish dumps) – legally, household waste is supposed to be free to dispose of at such sites.
  • Recommending that offenders on community sentences, including people caught fly-tipping, help councils clear up litter and fly-tipped waste.
  • Working with Highways England to target the 25 worst litter hotspots across our road network to deliver long-lasting improvements to cleanliness.
  • Creating a ‘green generation’ by educating children to lead the fight against litter through an increased number of Eco-Schools and boosting participation in national clean-up days.
  • Creating a new expert group to look at further ways of cutting the worst kinds of litter, including plastic bottles and drinks containers, cigarette ends and fast food packaging.  Click here to download strategy

Commentary from: Packaging news: Coca Cola & INCPEN comment:

INCPEN said it welcomed the Litter Strategy for England and hoped it would stimulate a new approach, creating a sense of “community and civic pride”.

The organisation added that good local initiatives had been unable to shift behaviour and there had been no government leadership. It added that money used by local authorities to clear litter could be better spent. INCPEN Director Jane Bickerstaffe said, “Bottles, cans and wrappers don’t litter themselves but it’s a bad advertisement for a brand to have its name literally in the gutter.  That’s why INCPEN supports comprehensive anti-litter campaigns, commissions research and encourages the use of anti-litter messages.”

A Coca-Cola European Partners spokesperson added: “We agree that much more needs to be done to tackle anti-social littering behaviours and we welcome the new approach outlined by Defra in this far-reaching strategy. All of us – consumers, local authorities, government and business – have a role to play in improving our environment. “Therefore, we are pleased to have been invited to join Defra’s new expert group to provide advice to the government on issues such as how best to increase the recovery of plastic drinks containers and reduce littering in the process. We have long been committed to taking the necessary action to improve the sustainability of our packaging and look forward to working with other like-minded organisations to explore new ideas and approaches that will support the overall ambitions of this strategy.”

The strategy proposes £60 fines for drivers caught throwing litter from their car. There will also be a strategy to target fly tipping with councils instructed to end the practice of charging people to use tips. In addition, more bins are to be placed in litter hot-spots throughout the country while fines of up to £150 will be handed out to anyone who drops litter.

Martin Kersh, FPA executive director, said: “Bearing in mind that by 2020 councils will retain business rates revenue there will be many retailers who feel the recent increase in business rates should be used towards the litter innovation fund. “A number of items including foodservice packaging are singled out to be particularly problematical but surely all littered items are problematical and that actions should focus on all litter and not just selected items. We wish to change public behaviour with regard to all littered items be it packaging or an apple core.

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