England

Increased fines for 'litter louts' come into effect

Litter
Image caption Some councils in England have already agreed increased fines for littering

People dropping litter, including from vehicles, face increased on-the-spot fines of up to £150 as new penalties come into effect.

Councils across England are being given the power to raise fines from the previous ceiling of £80.

Authorities can also use the penalties to target vehicles owners if it is possible to prove rubbish has been thrown from their car.

The government claims collecting litter costs councils £680m a year.

Councils are free to set the level of on-the-spot fines up to £150 per incident, but minsters have warned the new powers should not be abused.

The government said local authorities should take into account factors such as local abilities to pay, when setting a levy.

'Lives at risk'

Environment Minister Therese Coffey said: "These new fines will tackle anti-social behaviour by hitting litter louts in the pocket, whether it's litter that is thrown from a vehicle or dropped in the street.

"Littering is a scourge on our environment and we waste taxpayers' money cleaning it up - funds which could be better spent in the community.

"We want to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it, and I encourage everyone to take responsibility for their litter and recycle more."

The Local Government Association's (LGA) environment spokesman, Martin Tett, said: "Councils being able to issue increased fines to litter louts, who show no consideration for the community they live in, will send a strong message to those who think their laziness is more important than the environment in which they live.

"Allowing councils to fine the owners of vehicles which litter is thrown from, rather than expecting councils to prove who exactly in the vehicle had thrown litter, is also something that the LGA has long called for."

Edmund King, president of motoring organisation the AA, said: "There is no excuse for car litter louts.

"Tossing rubbish from vehicles spoils the environment, costs millions and puts road workers' lives at risk when they have to clear up.

"The majority of our members support higher fines for littering and we welcome these steps to tackle this unnecessary problem.

"It is not difficult for car occupants to bag it and bin it."

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