New powers are being called for by councils to tackle the “staggering and spiralling” problem of car litter louts, who are covering swathes of the country’s roads in rubbish, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
Local authorities outside London are currently powerless in fining the nation’s car litter louts because as the law stands they must positively identify who has thrown the litter, which is hugely difficult from a moving vehicle, the LGA has proposed.
The LGA, which represents over 400 councils in England and Wales, is calling for that legal loophole to be closed, giving them the power to fine the owner of the vehicle – regardless of who threw the waste.
This would involve the Government introducing new regulations to bring the rest of the country in line with the capital, where vehicle owners can be fined.
Cllr Peter Box – “It’s time for the lazy, selfish people who toss rubbish from moving cars learn this behaviour is simply unacceptable”
The call comes as research reveals the sheer scale of the problem. A quarter of all motorists have admitted to chucking litter, the LGA states.
It says councils up and down the country currently do everything they can to tackle road rubbish – but it is difficult, dangerous and expensive to clear up.
About 80 tonnes of car litter were collected from just 18 miles of ‘A’ roads in idyllic North Hertfordshire countryside during an annual clear-up. That huge haul is the equivalent of 3,200 wheelie bins or 10,000 sacks of waste.
Meanwhile, council workers recently recovered 20 tonnes of rubbish, including plastic bottles, drink cans and cigarettes – along just a 16-mile stretch of the A42 in Leicestershire.
And in Dorset, it took the local authority team five nights to clean a five-mile section of the A338, during which they collected nearly two tonnes of rubbish, costing taxpayers £10,000.
LGA Environment spokesman Cllr Peter Box said: “Road litter is a huge and spiralling problem which is threatening to overwhelm some of the nation’s roads. It is difficult – and dangerous – for councils to clear up.
“The litter louts who blight our roads and cost council taxpayers millions in clean-up costs are currently getting away scot free thanks to a legal loophole.
“It’s time for the lazy, selfish people who toss rubbish from moving cars learn this behaviour is simply unacceptable.
“We are calling on the Government to urgently give councils the appropriate powers to tackle this issue head-on.”