Red Light To Car Litter
09 July 2009
Motorists spotted dropping litter from their car should be fined and receive one penalty point on their licence says Keep Britain Tidy.
The anti-litter charity has launched a campaign today to tackle lazy drivers who lash the trash. More than 700,000 bags of litter are collected each year from England’s roads at huge cost to the public and risk to maintenance staff.
Much of this is hurled from cars, vans and lorries and ends up stuck in hedges or piled high at traffic lights.
Throwing litter from a car is disgusting and turns our roadsides into a dumping ground for fast food litter, cigarette stubs, drinks cartons and apple cores.
It can also be very dangerous for other road users, particularly cyclists and motorcyclists who can be distracted or hit by the items thrown from cars.
Shockingly, nearly a quarter of people (23%) admit to dropping litter from their vehicle, according to latest Keep Britain Tidy research.
In relation to litter from vehicles, the law as it stands is complicated. Any passenger or driver can be fined for dropping litter. But often it’s difficult to identify the litter-throwing occupant especially if the vehicle is going at speed.
To make it easier to prosecute offenders, Keep Britain Tidy now believes it’s time that the owner of the vehicle should be fined and receive points on their driving licence – unless they provide details of the culprit.
In London people caught throwing litter from motor vehicles are facing fines of £100 thanks to new penalties agreed by London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee (TEC).
Phil Barton, Keep Britain Tidy chief executive said: “Our research shows that the best deterrent to stop motorists littering is points on their licence, community service and a large fine – in that order.
“It needs to be easier to prosecute offenders. The owner should be responsible for the actions of those inside the car. We therefore want the law to go further and see a penalty point put on the licence of those that litter from vehicles.
“It is one of the most annoying things to see – a lazy driver pulls up at the lights and dumps their litter on the road.
“Our streets have become a giant dumping ground. Drivers and their passengers too should take their litter home with them.”
A month long car litter campaign will see posters going up nationwide to remind motorists of their responsibilities.
Nearly 100 councils in England will be working with Keep Britain Tidy to gather evidence on when and where car litter offences occur. They will also be campaigning to raise awareness of the problem.
People will also be asked to report incidents of littering from vehicles on the vehicle litter campaign section of the website
This information will go on a database and used to analyse trends in littering from vehicles.