New legislation supported by Environment Minister, Caroline Spellman, will make vehicle drivers legally responsible for the actions and demeanour of their passengers. This means that drivers could be fined if one of their passengers is seen throwing rubbish from the vehicle, even if they have not seen the incident. A trial scheme is set to start in London later this month where a standard fine of £100 will be levied on anyone throwing rubbish from a vehicle. London councils intend to use CCTV cameras and Civil Enforcement Officers to oversee the campaign. Ms Spellman is keen for the scheme to go nationwide if it proves a success in the capital.
She will meet representatives from councils across the UK tomorrow as well as members of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign to launch a blitz on the problem of rubbish in our streets. She will tell the meeting that research suggests three quarters of a million bags of rubbish per year is thrown from vehicles and that the new scheme will be the main weapon in fighting the litter louts.
The initiative was broadly welcomed by all in the motoring world with a spokesman for the AA saying: “We have generally supported the idea of prosecuting people who litter from cars. There is substantial support backing from our members. In fact sixty one per cent of them loathe litter louts so much they think they should get points on their licence. We believe liability should rest with the person behind the wheel at the time and not the owner of the car. This would mean the law would apply in the same way as other motoring offences such as speeding and jumping red lights, where the driver is responsible.”
However, one disgruntled motorhome owner said: “I think it should rest with the person who threw the offending material. It is okay saying the driver is responsible but how do you explain to your motorhome insurance company that you were busy trying to stop your passenger throwing something out of the window when you ran into the back of the vehicle in front.” It is this sort of problem that the litter summit in Whitehall will try and iron out tomorrow.