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Higher Penalties for Motorists That Throw Litter from Vehicles

By Stephen Turvil | July 1, 2018


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Vehicle keepers responsible for litter even if it is thrown by passengers, the fines explained plus the damage litter causes

Higher Penalties for Motorists That Throw Litter from Vehicles

Fines for throwing litter from cars

Millions of selfish, antisocial, motorists that throw litter from cars have no idea there are legal consequences even though the penalties almost doubled in April 2018, The Keep Britain Tidy “Don’t Be A Tosser Campaign” hinted. It has, therefore, clarified how local councils punish the litter louts that ruin the landscape.

The law is straightforward. Irrespective of who within a vehicle throws litter, it is the registered keeper that faces the consequences. That is news to 33% of motorists. The purpose of this policy is to encourage registered keepers to ensure their passengers behave. The maximum fine is now £150 (was £80). Further:

  • The default penalty has risen from £75 to £100 
  • In April 2019, the minimum penalty rises from £50 to £65 

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey explained: “These new fines tackle antisocial behaviour by hitting the litter louts in the pocket. Littering is a scourge on our environment and we waste taxpayers’ money cleaning it up”. During 2016/17 alone, local councils spent £682 million retrieving litter. Such money could have been “better spent” elsewhere in the community, Coffey argued.

Harm caused by litter

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The new, higher, penalties better reflect the harm caused by motorists that leave litter at the roadside. Their thoughtlessness:

  • Kills wildlife 
  • Pollutes the environment 
  • Makes the streets look scruffy 
  • Creates a bad impression for tourists 
  • Blocks drains which increases the risk of flooding 
  • Diverts financial resources from (say) pothole repair 

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive, Allison Ogden-Newton, drew particular attention to the plight of small animals. She argued that millions of voles and shrews have explored bottles and cans at the roadside then died as a consequence. Cans can cut, for example.

“We need to get the message out there that being a tosser is socially unacceptable and - regardless of who throws the rubbish - if it comes out of your vehicle you are responsible", she affirmed.

Supporting higher penalties

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The AA further criticised the motorists that blight the landscape and supports higher penalties. “There is no excuse” for being a litter lout on the road, President Edmund King confirmed. He added:

“Tossing rubbish from vehicles spoils the environment, costs millions and puts road workers’ lives at risk when they have to clear up. The majority of our members support higher fines for littering and we welcome these steps to tackle this unnecessary problem. It is not difficult to bag it and bin it”, Mr King stated.

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