Tough new Bill aims to crackdown on roadside litter
Motorists could soon be held liable for any litter thrown out of their vehicles as new proposals tabled in the House of Lords today look to increase powers for fixed penalty fines.
The Private Member's Bill is being introduced by Conservative Peer Lord Marlesford and aims to close the loophole that allows people who litter from cars to dodge fines.
It is currently a criminal offence to throw litter from a vehicle and while councils have powers to issue fines of up to £80, in practice it is often impossible to prove who within the car was responsible.
In June, a new law came into force allowing councils in Greater London to issue a civil penalty for littering to the registered owner of the vehicle, who would be responsible for either paying it themselves or nominating the guilty individual to settle it instead.
The Bill today would extend this new civil penalty for littering from vehicles to local authorities across England.
Commenting on the proposals, Lord Marlesford said: "Nothing degrades a road more than litter. The roads in England are some of the dirtiest in Europe.
"I want action not words, so I am asking Parliament to do two things. First to deter people from littering from vehicles by making the vehicle owner pay a fixed penalty of £80, whoever has thrown the litter out of it.
"Second to require local authorities to report each year to the public how much they have spent on litter clearing contracts, with the names of the contractors and the roads for which they are responsible and to certify that they are satisfied that the job has been done.
"That will enable people to complain about dirty roads direct to local authorities or to contractors."
Last year nine million drivers - nearly a fifth of all motorists - threw litter from their cars. The cost to councils of clearing this up amounted to £863m in 2010-11.