Throwing litter out of your vehicle could now land you with a £150 fine, which is 50% more than the £100 you could be charged if you were caught speeding. The fine not only applies to drivers but also to passengers who litter, however it will be the driver who is sent the penalty notice to pay.
This new fine increase came into force on April 1st, 2018 and it can be charged on the spot or retrospectively with video evidence. It aims to deter people from littering and decrease a form of anti-social behaviour, which is having such devastating effects across the country’s highways.
Government crackdown on littering
The Government have decided to tackle the litter problem which can be found across the country by increasing the maximum fine from £80 to £150 starting from the 1st of April 2018. However, this comes with fears that councils struggling with funding may use this new fine to make money through hiring private firms to pursue those who have offended.
The fact that this new littering fine is more than the current speeding fine shows just how seriously the Government is taking it, and should really encourage people to stop littering and simply use bins instead. In line with this, at major service stations and motorway services, new bins with much wider openings are being rolled out so that people can drop litter into them from their cars.
The fine can be charged on the spot to anyone seen dropping litter, or throwing it from their car windows, and includes emptying car ashtrays onto the roads or pavements, or discarding food and drink wrappers out of the vehicle rather than waiting to use a bin.
In addition to this, motorists are being asked to share dashcam footage if they capture other drivers or their passengers throwing litter out of a car so that they can be tracked down and issued with a fine retrospectively.
As well as the Police, Community Support Officers, the Environment Agency, and conservation area officials will be able to fine those spotted littering, although ministers have urged that the fines are issued fairly following some unnecessarily harsh actions in the past.
For example, a lady was recently threatened with a £75 fine for tipping a stone out of her shoe which is completely unreasonable, and serious thought needs to be put into the fine before it is issued.
Fines cannot be given to anyone under the age of 10, and the minimum penalty is currently £50 although this will be rising to £65 in April 2019.
Why littering needs to stop
In a Government study, over 80% of the public stated that they supported higher fines for littering as cleaning up this rubbish costs around £700 million per year, which takes a big chunk out of the budget required to keep the road network well maintained.
Environment Minister Therese Coffey hopes that the increased fine will help to tackle anti-social behaviour by targeting those throwing litter out of a vehicle, or dropping it as they are walking.
Not only is littering costing councils’ money, but it also has a very negative effect on the environment as it can contaminate natural water sources, harm wildlife, attract vermin, and facilitates the breeding of bacteria, which is why it is important that people take notice of this new fine, refrain from littering in the future, or report anyone they see littering if they have video evidence to prove it.
How to prevent littering
The best way to ensure that you do not litter from your car, and avoid the potential £150 fine, is to invest in a car bin or always have a plastic bag to hand which can be used to keep rubbish in until you get to your destination.
You should also make your passengers aware that they should not throw litter from the car as this could also mean that you end up getting fined, especially young children who cannot be fined themselves but may not understand the consequences of their actions if they do discard rubbish out of the car windows.
Whenever you stop the car for a break on a long journey or at your end destination take the litter out with you and dispose of it. As mentioned earlier, some service stations now have wide-mouthed bins so you don’t even need to leave the vehicle to dispose of the litter.
Do you think that the increased littering fine of £150 is fair? Would you expect to be fined more for littering than for speeding? Let us know in the comments below.