Littering strategy aims to tackle £50m blight on the countryside
- Credit: Matthew Usher
A move to tackle the litter which blights the countryside has been welcomed by East Anglian landowners – but some say measures need to go further.
Under the proposals, the owners of vehicles from which passengers or drivers throw rubbish could be punished, while people seen to litter could be fined up to £150.
The government's litter strategy would also see councils banned from charging householders to dispose of household waste at the tip in an attempt to cut down on fly-tipping.
CLA East regional director Ben Underwood said: 'Litter and fly-tipping is not only a blight on our beautiful countryside, but comes at a major economic cost for farmers and other rural businesses who invariably have to clear it up.
'The cost of this was estimated at £50m last year – an unaffordable burden to bear.
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'Fines and other penalties are important, but they only work if they are enforced and it's not clear what additional resources councils and police forces will have to do this.
'This is especially the case when dealing with the organised criminal gangs that are increasingly fuelling the rise in fly-tipping incidents.
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'We must all work together with central government, councils and others to tackle the attitudes and behaviours that lead to people not taking responsibility for the waste they create.'
He said naming and shaming, vehicle and property confiscation and better education on littering would also help.
Countryside Alliance's head of policy Sarah Lee praised the measures but called for further incentives to dispose of waste.
She said: 'For far too long the blight of litter and fly-tipping has been scarring our countryside, harming our wildlife and costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds. It is time it stopped.
'These tough new measures will go some way to tackling this problem however more needs to done to incentivise people to dispose of their rubbish appropriately.
'From cash incentives to return bottles/cans to designing our public spaces so people find it easier to dispose of their waste, we must all work together to tackle this anti-social behaviour.'
The Litter Strategy
The government's new litter strategy is going out for consultation among local councils. Among the proposals are:
• Stopping councils from charging householders for disposal of DIY household waste at rubbish dumps.
• Issuing new guidance for councils to be able to update the nation's 'binfrastructure' through creative new designs and better distribution of public litter bins.
• Recommending that offenders on community sentences, including people caught fly-tipping, help councils clear up litter and fly-tipped waste.
• Working with Highways England to target the 25 worst litter hotspots across the road network.
• Educating children to lead the fight against litter through an increased number of eco-schools.
• Creating a new expert group to look at further ways of cutting the worst kinds of litter, including plastic bottles, cigarette ends and fast food packaging.