“People Respond To Incentives” ESA Tells Committee Litter Enquiry

The Environmental Services Association (ESA), yesterday (6 January) gave oral evidence to the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee inquiry into litter, launched in July last year, with the clear message of favouring the “carrot and stick” approach.

The CLG claims that despite campaigns aimed at changing the public’s behavior, litter has failed to be substantially reduced.

Despite a collection of powers and responsibilities for local councils and other bodies enshrined in legislation, the CLG says that the reduction in litter on the streets isn’t enough, and it remains an issue of local public concern.

It says 30m tonnes of litter is picked up every year from the streets of England, and Keep Britain Tidy puts a £1bn plus annual price tag on managing litter and its knock-on impacts nationally.

The Committee enquiry aims to uncover how much a “significant a problem littering and fly-tipping is”.

Jacob Hayler, ESA – “Local Authority budgets are extremely stretched at this time…particularly as other waste management costs are facing upward pressure, so any source of funding that help local authorities will be welcomed”

Giving evidence, Jacob Hayler, ESA’s executive director, focused on the “desperate” need to ensure that local authorities were adequately resourced and funded to deliver street cleansing services.

He said: “Local Authority budgets are extremely stretched at this time…particularly as other waste management costs are facing upward pressure, so any source of funding that help local authorities will be welcomed.”

Hayler also favoured a carrot and stick approach to combating litter between providing sufficient facilities for people to deposit their waste on the go, whilst at the same time enforcing penalties on offenders.

“People respond to incentives. It needs to be made easier for people to do the right thing through the provision of facilities, but on the other hand you need to have penalties in place for poor behaviour and sufficient enforcement of those penalties.”

The Committee held its first oral evidence session on Tuesday 25 November. In this session the Committee examined trends in litter and fly-tipping, local responses to these problems and the adequacy of legislation relating to litter and fly-tipping.

The Committee has also taken evidence from McDonald’s, Tobacco Manufacturers Association, Industry Council for Research on Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN), the foodservice Packaging Association and the, The Wrigley Company Ltd.


 

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