Dont have an account?Sign up here
6 June 2012
The Campaign to Protect Rural England is asking drivers to bin their litter this weekend and not leave it by the roadside.
Bill Bryson, CPRE president, says: “Litter is becoming the default condition of the British roadside. Often these days you feel as if you are driving through a kind of large, informal linear tip. Surely we are entitled to expect better. A clean and lovely countryside shouldn't be a surprise. It should be a right.”
The experience of CPRE and CleanupUK's thousands of litter volunteers, signed up through the Litter Action website (www.litteraction.org.uk), is that bank holidays are all too often accompanied by a flood of litter onto rural roadsides. CPRE is asking visitors this Jubilee weekend not to dump their litter, but to find a bin or take it home with them.
Samantha Harding, CPRE Stop the Drop campaign manager, says: “With millions of people hitting the roads this weekend we can expect the inevitable, yet traditional, bank holiday traffic jams. However, one tradition we would like to end is the accompanying avalanche of litter that ends up lining our roads and rural lanes.
“The bank holiday is a great opportunity to get out into England's wonderful countryside. We want people to remember that, unlike in many towns, litter dropped in the countryside might not get cleared for weeks, months or even years.”
Clearing up litter currently costs councils in England £863 million a year. But this figure doesn't include the cost of cleaning highway's agency roads (M and many A roads) and land along railways, or the cost of clearing fly-tipping on public or private land. It is safe to assume that the actual figure for clearing up litter in England is over £1billion annually.
Existing laws allows councils to fine people up to £80 if they can be shown to have thrown litter from a car. In practice however, councils find it very difficult to use this power as it is often impossible to prove who within the car was responsible for throwing the litter.
CPRE is campaigning for a simple amendment to the existing law which would allow councils to issue fines to the registered owner of the vehicle, who would then be responsible for paying the fine unless they nominated another person to pay it. This is a fairly standard legal procedure which currently applies for speeding fines, seat belt offences, parking infringements and fly-tipping. The London Local Authorities Act, which comes into force later this month, will introduce a similar change in London. CPRE wants all councils in England to have the effective powers they need to fine those who litter from vehicles.
Samantha Harding concluded: “When people get away with littering we all end up footing the bill. In a perfect world people would take responsibility for their own litter, and that is what we are encouraging people to do this weekend, but where they don't they should know that they could end up paying for their selfishness with a hefty fine.”