Local councils want more powers in fight against 'spiralling' problem of car litter louts

Nearly a quarter of British motorists admitted to dropping litter from their car

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The Independent Online

Local councils are calling for the same power as London to fine the owner of a vehicle when a passenger drops litter – in an attempt to tackle what it called a “staggering and spiralling” problem of rubbish along the country’s roads.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents England and Wales’ 400 councils, on Friday called on the central government to introduce new regulations for them to be able to fine the owner of a vehicle if someone inside throws rubbish out of the window.

These powers already apply to London, where the vehicle owner faces a fine of up to £100. But for the rest of the country, police must identify who has thrown the litter to be able to fine them – a stipulation which has left authorities “powerless”.

The Environment Department (Defra) said following the call that the government would assess how it could help local councils to tackle the problem, the BBC reported.


The scale of the problem became apparent when council workers picked up 20 tonnes of rubbish along just a 16-mile stretch of A road in Leicestershire. In Dorset, local authorities took five nights to clean a five-mile section of road. This cost the tax payer £10,000, the LGA said.

An annual clear up in Hertfordshire saw workers haul up 10,000 rubbish bags of waste along an 18-mile stretch of countryside roads.

“We are calling on the Government to urgently give councils the appropriate powers to tackle this issue head-on,” said LGA spokesman Peter Box.

Box said the problem was “threatening to overwhelm some of the nation's roads.” And that it had become “difficult and dangerous for councils to clean up.”

Nearly a quarter or motorists have admitted that they drop litter out of their car window, research from the LGA suggests.