Headlines: April 16th, 2008

Local authorities are not doing enough to combat the growing problem of litter and fly-tipping according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England. It is launching a drive today for tougher action and lobbying for a new law for cash deposits on bottles. The campaign is being launched just days after councils called for legal loopholes to be closed to give them more enforcement powers.

The CPRE President, Bill Bryson, is launching ‘Stop the Drop’, to highlight the impact that litter and fly-tipping have across England. It will also give local people campaigning tools to demand action. Mr. Bryson said, “‘Litter is becoming the default condition of the countryside. It is time that we – all of us – did something about this.”

The charity says the worsening problem is shown in the results of the recent annual survey of local authorities by the Government’s own watchdog, Encams. In spite of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act, which gave councils and other bodies new powers to clean up litter, the headline statistic was that local authority performance has dropped from ‘satisfactory’ to ‘unsatisfactory’. Bill Bryson said, “The bodies responsible for cleaning up litter and fly-tipping admit it is getting worse and many local authorities remain magnificently relaxed when it comes to doing anything about it.”

Earlier this week the Local Government Association claims that up to 70 per cent of litter offences were unpunished because of a loophole that made it almost impossible to deal with people who threw rubbish from cars. Paul Bettison, the Chairman of the LGA’s Environment Board, said, “At a time when councils are coming under increasing pressure to deal with littering, some of the current legislation is a mire of confusion.”

The LGA wants revisions to existing legislation so the responsibility for litter dropped from a vehicle is placed on the registered keeper. This, it says, would give councils the enforcement powers they need.