England’s New Litter Strategy To Build “Anti-Litter Culture”

Government has today (10 April) published its first ever National Litter Strategy for England, which will aims to create an “anti-litter culture” and to reduce the near £800m burden to the taxpayer of clean-up costs.

Under the new proposals, the most serious litterers could be hit with the £150 fines, while vehicle owners could receive penalty notices when it can be proved litter was thrown from their car – even if it was discarded by somebody else.

The new motoring rules, which are already in force in London, make owners liable even if they didn’t throw the litter themselves.

“Our litter strategy will tackle this antisocial behaviour by building an anti-litter culture; making it easier for people to dispose of rubbish; and hitting litter louts in the pocket.”

The strategy also calls for councils to stop charging householders for disposal of DIY household waste at civic amenity sites – legally, household waste is supposed to be free to dispose of at such sites, Defra says.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “Litter is something that affects us all – blighting our countryside, harming our wildlife, polluting our seas, spoiling our towns, and giving visitors a poor impression of our country.

“Our litter strategy will tackle this antisocial behaviour by building an anti-litter culture; making it easier for people to dispose of rubbish; and hitting litter louts in the pocket.

“We want to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it, and tackling litter is an important part of our drive to make the country a better place to live and visit.”

Further new measures drawn up by environment, transport and communities departments include:

  • 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, making it easier for people to discard rubbish.
  • 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 our road network to deliver long-lasting improvements to cleanliness.
  • creating a “green generation” by educating children to lead the fight against litter through an increased number of Eco-Schools and boosting participation in national clean-up days.

“Selfish Minority”

Creating a new expert group to look at further ways of cutting the worst kinds of litter, including plastic bottles and drinks containers, cigarette ends and fast food packaging.

Communities Minister Marcus Jones said: “It’s time we consigned litter louts and fly-tippers to the scrap heap of history. Through our first ever National Litter Strategy we plan to do exactly that.

“Our plans include targeting the worst litter hotspots, cracking down on litter louts with increased fines and getting people to bin their rubbish properly.

“For too long a selfish minority have got away with spoiling our streets. It’s time we sent them a clear message – clean up or face having to cough up.”

Transport Minister John Hayes said: “Litter on our roads is a major and costly problem to deal with. It makes our roads look messy, can threaten wildlife and even increase the risk of flooding by blocking drains.

“To combat this needless blight on our landscape, I am working with Highways England to target the worst 25 litter hotspots on our road network, on which hundreds of thousands of sacks are collected every year with the clean-up bill running into millions of pounds.

“By increasing fines and working with local authorities, the Government is taking decisive action to clean up our environment.”

“By increasing fines and working with local authorities, the Government is taking decisive action to clean up our environment.”

The strategy also outlines measures to protect seas, oceans and marine life from pollution.

Funding will also be made available to support innovative community-led projects to tackle litter that could turn local success stories into national initiatives.

The Government will follow the strategy with a new national anti-littering campaign in 2018, working with industry and the voluntary sector to drive behaviour change.

The consultation on the new enforcement measures officially opens today. Guidance will then be issued to councils to accompany any new enforcement powers, to make sure they are targeted at cutting litter, while preventing “over-zealous enforcement” or fines being used to raise revenue.

“War On Litter”

Keep Britain Tidy has welcomed the launch of the Government’s Litter Strategy for England. Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “Educating the next generation is vital if we are to win the war on litter. Our children and young people are the key to making littering a thing of the past.

“Learning about litter and its impacts, as part of their wider environmental education, must be a central pillar of the concerted effort needed to tackle the problem once and for all.”

The charity also welcomes the Government’s pledge to introduce regulations that will allow local authorities to issue penalty charge notices to the registered keeper of a vehicle if litter is thrown from it, which will make it easier for local authorities to tackle the problem of roadside litter, which is difficult and costly to clear.

Allison added: “There is much to commend in this Strategy and we look forward to seeing some ambitious targets from the Government and effective monitoring to ensure that the Strategy makes the measurable difference we all want to see.”


Commenting on the Government’s Litter Strategy published this morning, CIWM welcomed the broad range of actions proposed, from improved communications that include a “world class” national campaign in 2018, through to more effective enforcement and greater engagement and collaboration with the retail and packaging supply chain.

CIWM chief executive, Dr Colin Church

“This is a welcome plan to tackle a persistent problem that has a negative economic, environmental and social impact on our communities,” says CIWM chief executive Dr Colin Church. “It is not an easy problem to solve, and the strategy rightly focuses on exploring and developing both voluntary and regulatory measures that could apply to a range of stakeholders. It acknowledges the challenge of providing the right infrastructure to make it easy for people to do the right thing – disposing of their litter properly and ‘recycling on the go’ – and the role of major high street retailers and brands in promoting behaviour change.

“We are also pleased to see a commitment to strengthening the enforcement powers against offenders, including littering from vehicles which is a form of antisocial behaviour that has been particularly difficult for the relevant authorities to tackle. Clear messages about the potential consequences of littering are an important deterrent and have been seen to have a positive impact in other countries. The strategy makes repeated reference to the need for enforcement to be appropriate and proportionate and CIWM agrees with this; although it should be noted that most local authorities see the use of the toughest measures very much as a last resort.

 “It is not an easy problem to solve, and the strategy rightly focuses on exploring and developing both voluntary and regulatory measures that could apply to a range of stakeholders.”

“There are areas where further work and evidence is needed, particularly on the subject of how other waste management services impact on litter and fly-tipping. For example, the role and scope of charging at HRWCs for DIY waste is an ongoing discussion and it is important in the context of current budget pressures that local authorities do not end up carrying the cost for wastes that should have been borne by a contractor. Changes to the law must not provide loopholes that allow commercial operators to avoid their waste Duty of Care and legal responsibilities.

“There is a lot of work proposed on packaging and labelling and a number of private sector companies and associations have already shown a commitment to play their part. Some commentators will say that the voluntary approach is too light touch, however, so it is important that the Government remains behind the commitment expressed by Lord Gardiner in his foreword that further regulation is not being ruled out “if that is what is required to achieve real change.

“Funding all the work proposed in the strategy will also be challenging and CIWM has concerns about the proposal to reduce the ring fencing of income from fixed penalty fines for environmental offences. With priority areas such as social care taking ever larger proportions of the council budget, it is important that money can be earmarked for the effective enforcement, the infrastructure, and the communications initiatives highlighted in this strategy.”

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  1. Hmph. Warm words and empty gestures. My guess is that 99% of litter-droppers will be unaware that the government has even produced a strategy. On the other hand, something that would have made a huge difference, like a compulsory bottle deposit scheme, has been ditched because the drinks industry has opposed it. Very predictable and a great shame. The government will have to have another “litter strategy” in five years’ time when it has become clear that this one has made no difference whatsoever. And so it goes on: ordinary people having their environment ruined because politicians lack the courage to tackle vested interests.

  2. This new ‘strategy’ (policy document?) won’t make a blind bit of difference, because it doesn’t make councils accountable.
    We’ll get a few headline-grabbing ‘results’ but the annual £50 million clean up bill won’t be reduced.
    Council ineffectiveness due to lack of motivation and ‘outside-the-box’ thinking is a major contributor to the problem.. They will continue to seek ways to avoid sustained and serious enforcement as they have been doing with the 12 year old Clean Neighbourhood &a Environment Act which gave them numerous powers and opportunities to make a difference but which were largely spurned.

  3. When we talk about the clean-up activity, does it relate to those who throw things out of their cars or those who dump waste – the difference here is between a rat and an elephant? I’m confused with this strategy as it’s targeting wrong offenders when big offenders including waste contractors are continuing with their illegal waste dumping. Yes, there’s a need to change our culture and people should be sensitive enough not to throw things or litter the environment but I believe there are big issues surrounding waste management that we should concern ourselves with. For instance, how do we handle the post-Brexit UK environmental policy? What about the recycling and landfill targets that have shaped our waste management culture for years? How do we get people to engage more in waste management efforts? How do we create a sustainable market for the key recyclables both in the UK and abroad? I believe those elephants in the room should be our priority not some little mice.

  4. I don’t litter…. how many times do you here this from people? So, if no one litters where does it come from? Is there a litter fairy that comes out at night and sprinkles the ground with rubbish??? I think not… . My gran used to say ” it’s not the houses that turns a street into a slum, it’s the people who live in them” The public are lazy and until we address that full on nothing will change. I recently moved into a small coastal town and made myself extremely popular by going onto the local raido station to tell the good people of the town they needed to clean up their act!!!!! I was about as popular as a bad smell in a telephone box. But, the local authority have taken the matter seriously and are looking at what they do with a view to improving litter picking and street cleaning. This however only deals with the effects of littering, what I am now asking for is how can our town get together and seek out the litter louts. It only takes one person to start a campaign and before you know it you have dozens of like minded followers. So, in the words if Barrack Obama ” if you believe in something go get a clipboard and start a campaign “. Lobby you town council to start a “Clean town/city policy” let’s have a national award for the cleanest place the same as we have a clean beach award.

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