Car owners must pay passengers' litter fines, says Tory peer
Car owners whose passengers throw litter on to the road should be liable for an on-the-spot £80 fine, a Conservative peer has recommended.
Lord Marlesford, who has tabled a parliamentary bill, said England was "one of the dirtiest countries Europe".
He said it was time for motorists to take responsibility for the actions of their passengers and his plan would mean "fewer people get away with it".
The government was "beginning" to see the need for action, he told the BBC.
The Environment Agency estimates it removes almost a quarter of a million sacks of rubbish from the side of England's motorways each year.
Under current law, a council has to establish which person in the car is responsible for throwing litter before imposing a fine.
Lord Marlesford wants the car's owner to be culpable in all cases, in an effort to improve detection rates.'No excuse'
He told BBC Radio 4's The World at One it was "difficult to prove who threw it", adding: "England is one of the dirtiest countries in Europe. It's frankly disgraceful that people throw litter and it's time to bring in a deterrent."
He added that he had "not often seen people throw out litter. I have from time to time... most of the litter is dropped out when people can't see it being done... [But] the fact is it is done and the roads are very dirty and it's time to do something about it."
Lord Marlesford also said: "Somebody in a vehicle has no excuse for throwing litter out because they have got the vehicle for keeping it in. If they don't do it, they won't get fined."
Asked if he thought it unfair if a passenger, such as a friend's child, threw rubbish, the car owner would still be culpable, he replied: "You are responsible for people in your car and you should take that responsibility. If you allow children to throw litter, that's reprehensible, in my view."
He added: "I think the DfT [Department for Transport] are beginning to come round to the need for this."
Roads minister Mike Penning said: "If all drivers keep a bag in their vehicle to store rubbish and then dispose of it safely, it will be a real step forward in reducing roadside litter.
"It's a disgrace that we spend nearly £10m a year clearing litter from the side of England's motorways, just because a lazy and thoughtless minority can't be bothered to dispose of it properly. It's time for us all to step up to the mark and start taking responsibility for our litter."