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On Jan 11th 2018 the government published its Environmental Strategy entitled: A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment

The sections dealing with the issues of most concern to our campaign are dealt with on the following pages:

Page 91 Reducing litter and littering
Page 95 Cracking down on Fly-tippers and waste criminals

I have summarised the actions points and added my comments.

Page 91 Reducing litter and littering

To work with  … all businesses .. who adopt voluntary measures that aim to increase recycling and reduce litter, or through product design, behavioural research and investment in campaigns… and to tackle discarded fast-food packaging, smoking-related litter and chewing gum.

But they have been saying this for decades!

To… deliver a new national anti-litter campaign and work on developing a culture that teaches young people not to litter.

Again nothing new

Subject to parliamentary approval, new regulations will give councils outside London the power to fine keepers of vehicles from which litter is thrown.

Good idea but only Wandsworth of the 33 London Boroughs uses this legislation. Nobody in Government is finding out why.

Fixed penalties for littering and related offences have been increased . We will provide improved guidance on the appropriate and proportionate use of these powers, and encourage councils to be transparent about enforcement activity.

Its good that that the maximum on-the-spot fine for littering has been increased from £80 to £150. But there is nothing here about  increasing the number of fines issued by facilitating the fining juveniles and  relaxing the rules on surveillance. DEFRA have refused to say if a fine for dropping a cigarette end is in their view proportionate.

We will seek to improve the infrastructure (i.e bins) in place for people to
dispose of litter. We will produce new guidance on ‘binfrastructure’ to help local areas reduce levels of litter,

Inventing a clever piece of jargon will not have any effect in the real world. Why should councils take any notice of any further guidance which is not supported by additional funding. 

Working with Highways England we will tackle litter on the Strategic Road Network and update the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse to clarify expected standards.

But previous promises to get HE to do their job  have not produced results so why should we trust this one. The law is already clear on what HE’s duty is in respect to litter. They just need to comply with it.  

No mention of the DfT setting HE a Key Performance Indicator for litter

We have also launched a new ‘litter innovation fund’ (£450,000) to pilot and
evaluate small scale local research projects that have the potential for wider
application.

Wonderful

No mention of the only reference to combating litter in the Conservative election manifesto. It says the government will be “taking new powers to force councils to remove roadside litter and prosecuting offenders

Page 95 Cracking down on Fly-tippers and waste criminals

To seeking to eliminate waste crime and illegal waste sites over the lifetime of this Plan, prioritising those of highest risk.

They say they will “seek” to do this over 25 years! We should “commit” to doing this in say 2 years. 

Prioritising the highest risks crimes implies a continuation the Environment Agency’s sated policy re fly-tipping:  “In recent years the Environment Agency has concentrated its enforcement of illegal waste activity against more serious offences rather than the activity which is often regarded as fly-tipping”. See Fly-tipping

To working with industry to explore options to introduce electronic tracking of waste.

To developing a new strategic approach to prevent, detect and deter waste crime.

To take a partnership approach to deal with the issue with industry, regulators and local authorities.

Again totally noncommittal guff.

No mention is made of the fact that the number of prosecutions against large scale fly-tippers made by the Environment Agency has fallen from 96 in 2006 to 28 in 2017 See Fly-tipping

No mention of what Andrea Leadsom, then Secretary of State for the Environment stated on 10th April 2017 in reference to the Governments Litter Strategy: 

Measures in the Strategy include… Stopping councils from charging householders for disposal of DIY household waste at civic amenity sites – legally, household waste is supposed to be free to dispose of at such sites – reducing one of the drivers of fly-tipping. See HWRCs – Household waste & recycling centres.

Peter Silverman
17th January 2018

 

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