Government Litter Strategy Welcomed in Greenwich

Conservative councillor for Blackheath Westcombe ward Geoff Brighty joins colleagues in welcoming the Government’s Litter Strategy for England, which was unveiled this week. The strategy aims to reduce littering with proposals for new enforcement, education and more community engagement. Locally, Geoff and the Conservatives in Blackheath Westcombe have supported a number of community organised clean-up days across the area. Similar efforts have been made in Eltham and New Eltham.

Taxpayers are burdened with a bill of nearly £800m for the clean-up of litter and, in response, the Government has announced a series of proposals, including £150 fines for littering and penalty notices for drivers where it can be proven the litter came from their vehicle, even if the driver did not throw the litter themselves.

Other proposals, drawn up jointly between three Government departments; Transport, Environment and Communities, include:

·New guidance for councils to be able to update the nation’s ‘Binfrastruture’ through more creative and better designs for public bins and improving the distribution of those bins.

·Stopping councils charging for households for the disposal of DIY waste at local dumps.

·Recommending that offenders on community sentences, including fly-tippers, help councils to clear up litter and fly-tipped waste  

·Improved education to encourage young people to lead the fight against litter and to create a ‘Green Generation’.

·Establishing a new body of experts to identify further ways to reduce the worst kinds of litter, such as plastic bottles, drinks containers, cigarette ends and fast-food containers.

New funding is also to be made available to community-led projects to tackle litter and roll the new initiatives out nationally.

Councillor Geoff Brighty welcomed the announcement, saying: “I am pleased to see this Conservative Government taking littering seriously. In an ideal world everyone would take pride, respect and care for the environment in which they live but, sadly, some people don’t. It is right that those who are caught littering are punished, but preventative actions are just as - if not more - important than punishment. It is reassuring that the Government’s new measures also aim to prevent littering, not just discourage through consequences.”

The Government’s consultation on the enforcement of the new measures opens this week. The Government says it will be issuing councils with guidance to ensure that litter reduction is targeted, while also giving protections from over-zealous enforcement being used to raise revenue.