Headlines: August 27th, 2010

More than 100 local councils have called for a change in the law to prevent millions of pounds being wasted in dealing with litter created by motorists. They want the right to take action against the registered keeper of a vehicle that rubbish is thrown from in a system similar to those for dealing with speeding and flytipping.

As the law stands if a council officer reports litter being dumped from a moving vehicle a fine can be posted to the keeper, but if they deny the offence and no one else admits being responsible the authority is left to prove who dumped the litter. Because of the difficulty and expense involved most councils cannot pursue such cases. In some cases court imposed penalties have been less than the original fine and defendants were not ordered to pay costs.

The Local Government Association is calling on the Government to change the law after scores of councils said the most appropriate legislation would be to make the owner or keeper of the vehicle responsible for littering offences, unless they can prove it was someone else. The Chairman of the LGA’s Environment Board, Gary Porter, said it was wrong that hundreds of millions of pounds of council taxpayers’ money was spent every year clearing up after what he called ‘these lazy litter louts’. Councillor Porter added: “At a time when councils are having to provide vital services to residents on increasingly stretched budgets, this is an expense they can ill afford. Being able to crackdown on this issue will mean more money available to plough into frontline services like care for the elderly, protecting vulnerable children and keeping the streets safe.”