New laws mean drivers to be fined for dropping litter from cars

Dropping litter

One in seven drivers admits to dropping litter (iStock/Art of Photo)

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.

Parking on the pavement could soon be illegal in the UK (iStock/Andrewmedina)

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.”

6 comments on “New laws mean drivers to be fined for dropping litter from cars

  1. Eric Hayman 06/04/2018 8:28 AM

    Exactly what is a driver supposed to do if a passenger throws a can or cigarette packet out of a window on a motorway? What if it happens when travelling on a red route or clearway? Yes, litter is a problem, but this smacks of a school teacher punishing a whole class for one pupil’s misbehaviour. And will this unfair, amoral law apply to bus drivers, tram drivers and taxi drivers?

    As for making all pavement parking illegal, will that mean an end to lawful two wheels on the pavement areas, where there is width enough for prams, mobility scooters, etc? What if parking solely on the road means no width to get by for large vans, lorries, fire tenders? Will such roads have one-side-only parking, with residents having nowhere to park? Will no pavement parking apply to all emergency vehicles on calls? Will this apply to only England and Wales?

    • Michael M 04/12/2018 5:42 PM

      Q: “Exactly what is a driver supposed to do if a passenger throws a can or cigarette packet out of a window on a motorway?”
      A: Pay the fine – same as any other road. It is then between the occupants of the car to sort it out between them. Presumably the driver is an adult and capable of dealing with such situations.

    • Eric Hayman 06/04/2018 5:11 PM

      Which? How can councils encourage pavement parking on one road while it is illegal on another, with very similar width pavements? How is it right to blame a driver for a passenger’s actions?

  2. Ray Stevens 10/07/2018 7:59 AM

    I have traveled extensively around Most of Europe, for years, Never ever see Litter at the roadside, If Europe Can be Clear of litter so can this Country, I hate to think what Europeans think while traveling our roads, Go to Singapore or Hong Kong No chewing gum stuck to the pavements, or Cigarette ends, While in Hong Kong i was advised by a good friend who lived there, Australia you don’t see people litter the streets, they have signs up stating you will BE FINED and it cost you big time, Trouble here is people are to Lazy they do not appear to have the intelligence to wait til till they arrive at a rubbish bin, in my car is a £1.00 ashtray purchased from the market for cigarette ends and the ash on arriving at a destination i look for a rubbish bin to empty it, small doggie poo bag inside car for sweet wrappers ect….As for Takeaway meals Don’t throw that rubbish out of the window, throw it in a bin on arrival at your destination,
    if i go into a Car park i gather up all my rubbish that may have been overlooked and put it in a BIN ….COME ON BRITAIN, STOP SHOWING US UP, IF OTHER COUNTRIES AND BE KEPT CLEAN WITHOUT HAVING LITTER LOUTS SO CAN WE.
    As for pavement parking well don’t start me on that one !!!!!

  3. Eric Hayman 10/07/2018 9:01 AM

    Regarding pavement parking, how can some councils make it legal on some roads, and illegal on others? And what should delivery van/lorry drivers do when there is no room to let traffic through on narrow residential roads? Park in the next road?

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