It would appear from the reports of the leaked document that the Government’s proposals to mitigate the litter problem are as follows:
- Councils to be allowed to issue Penalty Charge Notices (£60 – with £200 for late payment) to to car owners if litter is seen being thrown from their vehicles. This will be under a civil law regime.
- Increasing the standard £75 fine for littering, with the £125 maximum in Wales a possible new benchmark
- Making chewing gum companies provide advice to councils about tackling gum litter and staining on streets.
- Producing new guidance on “binfrastructure” – where and how bins are distributed in public spaces – to reduce littering
- Identifying 25 “priority litter hotspots” that can be targetted to deliver “lasting improvement in cleanliness”
- Creating a taskforce through the Advisory Committee on Packaging to propose ways littering can be discouraged on packaging
- Boosting participation in “national clean-up days” such as the Great British Spring Clean and the Great British Beach Clean
The only measure of any substance is the proposed penalty for littering from a vehicle. This facility has been available to the London Boroughs since 2012. However, I am not aware that any of the Boroughs, apart possibly from Wandsworth, have made any significant use of it.
The rest of the proposals are simply window-dressing. Increasing the Fixed Penalty Notice fine to £125 may have a negative effect if it encourages more non- payment.
What is missing from the strategy is any mention of:
Any much needed additional funding to enable councils and Highways England to pay for more litter picking and detritus removal.
The monitoring and censuring of duty bodies who fail to comply with their statutory duties on litter.
The reform of DEFRA’s Litter Code of Practice which has been described as a book of excuses for duty bodies
The introduction of a civil law regime for on-the-spot litter fines so that it becomes practicable to issue them to juveniles. (Courts are reluctant to give a juvenile a criminal record if a fixed penalty notice is not paid).
Deterring littering by encouraging councils to issue vastly more on-the-spot litter fines by (a) employing more wardens, (b) letting them patrol in plain-clothes and, where appropriate out of view, and (c) supporting this by a “litter-louts – you are being watched” publicity campaign. (Councils can employ specialist contractors to provide the wardens. These arrangements can generate cash which can be used to fund additional street cleansing. This should be encouraged).
For more on this please go to Clean Highways key recommendations
11th January 2017