Litterbug motorists could face fines up to £120

Drivers who throw rubbish from their cars in the borough could face a £120 fine as part of a town hall litter crackdown.

Friday, 27th July 2018, 9:16 am
Updated Friday, 27th July 2018, 10:52 am
Drivers throwing rubbish from their cars could be fined
Drivers throwing rubbish from their cars could be fined

Regulations were introduced earlier this year allowing local authorities to issue on-the-spot penalty notices of up to £150.

Council officers are recommending they should be enforced from October with income from the fines used to “improve street cleanliness.”

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As part of the proposals, the fine for general littering will also be increased from £80 to £120.

The announcement came as Highways England issued a warning to motorists after ditched rubbish was blamed for a spate of roadside fires in the current hot weather.

A report due before the town hall’s Confident Places Scrutiny Committee next week says the council is not regarding the fines from motorists as an “income generator” but “a necessary and proportionate response to the current environmental issues facing the council.”

Fines will be fixed at £120 with a reduction to £65 if paid within 14 days but the council has no immediate plans to use on-street CCTV cameras to identify offenders.

Instead, the responsibility will lie with environmental officers with the hope the new system will act as a deterrent.

Council officers already have powers to issue fixed penalty notices for other environmental offences such as dropping cigarette butts and dog fouling.

Car owners will be responsible for passengers littering from their vehicle, according to the legislation.

The council report reads: “When littering offences take place from a vehicle, it can be difficult for councils to identify the offender with sufficient certainty.

"However, the regulations make the keeper of the vehicle responsible for the offence even if they did not actually throw the litter from the vehicle themselves.”

Drivers of public service vehicles and taxi drivers will be exempt if the offence is committed by a passenger, the report adds.

The proposals will be discussed by the scrutiny committee on Wednesday and then require cabinet approval.

Environment director Paul Barton said: “In the first instance nominated officers within our environmental education and enforcement team will be given the delegated powers to issue fines.

“As the scheme develops we will look to offer delegated powers to a number of our existing partners who currently undertake enforcement duties for the council.

“At this stage there are no plans to utilise footage from our on-street CCTV cameras to pursue potential offenders, and as a council we would rather people did not drop litter in the first instance however we believe the new legislation will now act has an effective deterrent.”

Highways England said there had been 56 fires recorded on grass verges across England in the past 10 days near to the motorway and major A-road network it manages.

And a spokesman warned that with dry conditions on roadside verges, items thrown from passing vehicles such as glass bottles, cigarette butts and plastic can spark fires