Litter

As anyone involved in politics will tell you litter is a regular source of complaints. Yesterday the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs launched a National Litter Strategy.

The Litter Strategy aims to apply best practice in education, enforcement and infrastructure to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and the behaviour associated with it. The aim is to achieve demonstrable improvements in the cleanliness of our country and a cultural shift to make littering socially unacceptable.

Measures in the new Strategy include:

• Working with Highways England to target the 25 worst litter hotspots across our road network to deliver long-lasting improvements to the roads that are often the gateways to our towns and cities.

• Bringing forward regulations to give councils outside London new powers to fine the registered keeper of a vehicle from which litter is thrown.

• Convening a new expert group to look at further ways of reducing the worst kinds of litter, including plastic bottles and drinks containers, cigarette ends and fast food packaging.

• Consulting on increasing the fixed penalty for littering to £150.

• Recommending that offenders on community sentences, including people caught fly-tipping, help councils clear up litter and fly-tipped waste.

• Launching a Litter Innovation Fund to support innovative community-led projects aimed at tackling littering and which could see local success stories turned into national initiatives.

• Issuing new guidance for councils to be able to update the nation’s ‘binfrastructure’ through creative new designs and better distribution of public litter bins, making it easier for people to discard rubbish.

• Stopping councils from charging householders for disposal of DIY household waste at civic amenity sites – legally, household waste is supposed to be free to dispose of at such sites – reducing one of the drivers of fly-tipping.

• Creating a ‘green generation’ by educating children to lead the fight against litter through an increased number of Eco-Schools and boosting participation in national clean-up days, such as the Great British Spring Clean.

• Committing to a new national anti-littering campaign in 2018, working with industry and the voluntary sector to drive behaviour change across the country.

I am sure the Litter Strategy will not be a magic bullet to end littering but I hope it leads to a change in our culture so that it is no longer regarded as acceptable to drop litter.