Stop ciggie litter

15th Jun 2012

New research by Green Flag breakdown service company shows 29 million cigarette butts are thrown from cars each year!

Campaign to Protect Rural England nationally is renewing calls to make it easier to fine people for littering from cars. Currently effective action to tackle this problem outside London is hampered by inadequate legislation.
 
The research showed nine million drivers (18 percent) threw litter from their cars in 2011. Over 29 million cigarette butts, 17.4 million food items and 5.2 million tissues have also been thrown from car windows by inconsiderate drivers who seem to have little regard for the appearance of our towns and countryside.
 
Bill Bryson, CPRE President, says: “Litter is becoming the default condition of the British roadside. Often these days you feel as if you are driving through a kind of large, informal linear tip. Surely we are entitled to expect better. A clean and lovely countryside shouldn’t be a surprise. It should be a right.”
 
This research shows that some people are shockingly irresponsible in their behaviour, and believe that it is ok to jettison litter from their cars because they can’t wait for a bin, or because they don’t like their cars to be cluttered. We believe that it is time to toughen sanctions against drivers who allow litter to be thrown from their cars by making sure they face a fine when it happens.
 
Clearing up litter currently costs councils in England £863 million a year. But this figure doesn’t include the cost of cleaning Highways Agency roads (Motorways and many A roads) and land along railways, or the cost of clearing fly-tipping on public or private land. It is safe to assume that the actual figure for clearing up litter in England is over £1 billion annually.
 
Existing laws allows councils to fine people up to £80 if they can be shown to have thrown litter from a car. In practice however, councils find it very difficult to use this power as it is often impossible to prove who within the car was responsible for throwing the litter.
 
CPRE is campaigning for a simple amendment to the existing law which would allow councils to issue fines to the registered owner of the vehicle, who would then be responsible for paying the fine unless they nominated another person to pay it.
 
This is a fairly standard legal procedure which currently applies for speeding fines, seat belt offences, parking infringements and fly-tipping.
 
The London Local Authorities Act, which comes into force later this month, will introduce a similar change in London. We want to see all councils in England - including South Yorkshire - have the effective powers they need to fine those who litter from vehicles.