PENALTY fees for littering have been almost doubled by the government in a new crackdown.
From today, litter louts in England face on-the-spot fines of up to £150 – almost double the previous levy of £80.
Councils can also use the littering penalty against vehicle owners if it can be proved an offending item was thrown from their car.
The government said tougher penalties are needed because keeping the country’s streets clean costs local authorities £680million a year.
But ministers have warned councils they must not abuse the powers, and should take into account factors such as local ability to pay when setting the level for these penalties.
Environment minister Therese Coffey said: ‘These new fines will tackle anti-social behaviour by hitting litter louts in the pocket, whether it’s litter that is thrown from a vehicle or dropped in the street.
‘Littering is a scourge on our environment and we waste taxpayers’ money cleaning it up – funds which could be better spent in the community.
‘We want to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it, and I encourage everyone to take responsibility for their litter and recycle more.’
The penalty hike comes as bodies across the country have recently united for a number of campaigns to clean up the environment.
The News has carried out its own – The Last Straw – in a bid to cut down on businesses offering single-use plastic products in the local area.
Edmund King, president of motoring organisation the AA, said: ‘There is no excuse for car litter louts. Tossing rubbish from vehicles spoils the environment, costs millions and puts road workers’ lives at risk when they have to clear up.
‘The majority of our members support higher fines for littering and we welcome these steps to tackle this unnecessary problem. It is not difficult for car occupants to bag it and bin it.’
As a council in England, Portsmouth City Council will be able to enforce the new £150 littering penalties.
The Local Government Association’s environment spokesman, Martin Tett, said: ‘Councils being able to issue increased fines to litter louts, who show no consideration for the community they live in, will send a strong message to those who think their laziness is more important than the environment in which they live.
‘Allowing councils to fine the owners of vehicles which litter is thrown from, rather than expecting councils to prove who exactly in the vehicle had thrown litter, is also something that the LGA has long called for.’