It isn’t just driving that can put you in danger of a hefty fine. New laws have come into force meaning car owners can get bigger fines for dropping litter than speeding. And if more new rules get the green light, drivers who park partially on the pavement could face £70 fines. Read on to find out more.
New fines for dropping litter
Drivers can now be fined for littering – even if it’s a passenger dropping rubbish from their car. Under new powers, local councils will be able to fine a car owner up to £150 if it can be proved someone dumped litter from their motor. The maximum fine is up from £80. The minimum fine that can be issued will now be £65 while the default fine is £100. When the government asked people about the new penalties, it says 85 per cent were in favour.
Why drivers are now responsible
Until now, people have been able to get away with chucking rubbish out of cars because it’s often been impossible to prove who was at fault. In a change to the law, if it can be proved that litter was thrown from a car, the car’s owner will be deemed responsible, even if someone else discarded the rubbish.
Drivers can now shop other car owners by passing dash cam footage of litter louts to the authorities. Councils will be able to use this as evidence of littering. They will then issue the offending car’s owner with a fine.
How much of a problem is litter?
According to the government, one in seven drivers admits chucking rubbish out of their car. The result is roadsides covered with everything from coffee cups to cigarette ends, dirty nappies to old newspapers. Each year, 200,000 sacks of litter are removed from the roadside. In 2017 this cost tax payers £700 million.
Environment minister Therese Coffey said: “These new fines will tackle anti-social behaviour by hitting litter louts in the pockets, whether it’s litter thrown from a vehicle or dropped in the street. Littering is a scourge on our environment and we waste taxpayers’ money cleaning it up.”
Why the changes in parking laws?
The Department for Transport is looking into overhauling traffic laws. Among the changes it wants to make is one that declutters pavements. It hopes this will make life easier for pedestrians, people who are visually impaired, in wheelchairs or pushing buggies. To achieve this it wants to bring the rest of the UK in line with London where parking partially on the pavement has been illegal since 1974.
How much will the fine be?
Offenders could face fines of up to £70, according to reports. The government’s review of kerbside parking was originally slated for 2016 but it was abandoned. Even so, the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils throughout the country, has been pushing for the new rules.
LGA transport spokesman Councillor Martin Tett added: “Local authorities need this power to respond to concerns raised by their communities, for example if a street is becoming dangerously congested or pedestrians are being forced to step out into the street to get around parked vehicles.” A 2015 survey by the charity Guide Dogs revealed that 72 per cent of visually impaired people had been affected by pavement parking.
But there are concerns that if cars are forced to park with four wheels on the street, it could prevent emergency vehicle access on narrower roads. Transport minister Jesse Norman said: “The Department for Transport is now undertaking a broader piece of work to gather evidence on the issue of pavement parking. We expect to be able to draw conclusions later this year.”