One of the major areas of work for Keep Britain Tidy is our ongoing campaign against the problem of litter and the impact that it has on our communities and local areas. Over 30 million tonnes of litter are collected from our streets every year and it costs council tax payers £885 million a year to clean the streets of England.
• The law – is it illegal to drop litter?
• Key facts and figures
• What can I do about litter
The law - Is it illegal to drop litter?
Anyone that drops litter in a public place is committing a crime and they can be fined under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act. The fine is between £50 - £80, and if not paid a magistrates’ court can impose a fine of up to £2,500.
Key facts and figures
• Local authorities spent £885 million on street cleansing in 2009-10
• (Local Government Financial Statistics England No.21 – Department for Communities and Local Government)
• 2.25 million pieces of litter are dropped in the UK every day (Symphony Environmental Study 2005)
• 48% of the population admit to dropping litter (Litter Segmentation 2006)
• Smoking related litter is the most prevalent item of litter on England’s streets found at 81% of all sites surveyed in 2009-10 (Local Environmental Quality Survey of England Year 9 report)
• Fast food litter was present on 24% of sites surveyed in 2009-10 (Local Environmental Quality Survey of England Year 9 report)
• Members of the public, who are satisfied with how their area looks, are significantly more likely to be satisfied with how safe they feel in their area (The Word on our Street 2009)
• Between April 2008 and March 2009 over 30,000 fixed penalty notices were issued to people caught littering.
For all you need to know about litter - including facts and figures, tips for campaigning against litter in your local area and case studies from councils that are seeing success - View our Litter Knowledge Bank. You can also read our research reports on litter
What can I do about litter?
Many people find littering unacceptable and want to do something about it. Keep Britain Tidy encourage the public to get involved and do their bit to tackle the problem of litter. One way you can do this is to sign up to our Love Where You Live campaign and organise a litter pick in your local community. You can also sign up as a Keep Britain Tidy supporter and show that you are committed to tackling the issue of litter or put up one of our posters locally. Order posters, leaflets, stickers.
If you are with someone you know and they drop litter you may feel safe telling them that they shouldn’t. However, if you see someone dropping litter that you don’t know it is important not to confront them if you think that your personal safety might be at risk. Police Officers or litter wardens are empowered and trained to deal with offenders.
If you have information about a littering incident you could report it to the police, the local council or a litter warden, but it is up to them to decide whether they wished to proceed any further. Whilst it is possible to take a private prosecution, it would be at a person’s own expense and you will need strong evidence to prove your case in court.