British roadsides becoming 'a linear tip', says Bill Bryson

 

Britain's roadsides are becoming a "linear" rubbish tip, according to Bill Bryson, the writer and president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

The Notes From a Small Island author said littering has become so bad it was becoming the default position.

Research from the car breakdown company Green Flag suggests 29 million cigarette butts are thrown from cars each year and the CPRE has renewed calls to make it easier to fine people for littering from vehicles.

The research also shows 7.4 million food items and 5.2 million tissues have also been thrown from car windows by inconsiderate drivers.

Anglophile Bryson, who has written extensively about Britain, said: "Litter is becoming the default condition of the British roadside.

"Often these days you feel as if you are driving through a kind of large, informal linear tip.

"Surely we are entitled to expect better.

"A clean and lovely countryside shouldn't be a surprise. It should be a right."

Currently effective action to tackle this problem outside London is hampered by inadequate legislation, the CPRE said.

The research showed nine million drivers (18%) threw litter from their cars in 2011.

Ben Stafford, head of CPRE campaigns, said: "When people get away with littering we all end up footing the bill.

"In a perfect world people would take responsibility for their own litter, and we encourage everyone to do this.

"However, it is clearly not enough to ask people to do the right thing.

"As this research shows, some people are shockingly irresponsible in their behaviour, believing that it is acceptable to jettison litter from their vehicles because they can't wait for a bin, or because they don't like their cars to be cluttered.

"It's time to toughen sanctions against drivers who allow litter to be thrown from their cars by making sure they face a fine when it happens."

According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, clearing up litter currently costs councils in England £863 million a year.

But the figure does not include the cost of cleaning Highways Agency roads (motorways and many A roads) and land along railways, or the cost of clearing fly-tipping on public or private land.

The CPRE said the actual figure for clearing up litter in England is more than £1 billion annually.

Existing laws allows councils to fine people up to £80 if they can be shown to have thrown litter from a car.

In practice however, councils find it very difficult to use the power as it is often impossible to prove who within the car was responsible for littering.

CPRE is campaigning for an amendment to the existing law allowing councils to issue fines to the registered owner of the vehicle, who would then be responsible for paying the fine unless they nominated another person to pay it.

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee