Drive-by litterbugs who discard rubbish while on the move are being warned: “We are on your case.”
The Local Government Association (LGA) wants new powers to tackle the “huge and spiralling” problem of people throwing litter from vehicles.
We would welcome new powers to hold the registered keeper of a vehicle responsible for litter being thrown from the vehicle, unless they gave a statement identifying the name and address of the person who actually discarded the rubbish
They want the same power as London, where vehicle owners can be fined if someone drops litter from their car.
Councils say they cannot currently tackle the problem effectively as they have to identify who threw the rubbish.
Town hall bosses today backed the LGA’s call - but urged residents to take responsibility for themselves.
Coun Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We would welcome new powers to hold the registered keeper of a vehicle responsible for litter being thrown from the vehicle, unless they gave a statement identifying the name and address of the person who actually discarded the rubbish.
“This would help make people accountable and make it much easier for us to prosecute those who blight our community by littering.
“We are not the litter police and I need to stress to people that we can’t solve all litter problems alone.
“If people want no litter, we need the whole community to take responsibility and use the bins provided. “However, residents can be assured we will come down as hard as possible on people we catch littering and fly-tipping and this proposal would certainly help.”
There are more than 500 litter bins in Blackpool alone.
The LGA said clearing up plastic bottles, cigarette butts, food wrappers and other rubbish thrown from vehicles is difficult, dangerous and expensive
Almost a quarter of motorists (23%) admit to having thrown litter out of the car, its research suggests.
LGA environment spokesman Peter Box said: “The litter louts who blight our roads and cost council taxpayers millions in clean-up costs are currently getting away scot-free thanks to a legal loophole.”
He added: “We are calling on the government to urgently give councils the appropriate powers to tackle this issue head-on.”
Defra said the government was considering the best way to support councils.
A Defra spokeswoman said: “Litter blights communities and poses a risk to human health which is why tackling this issue remains a priority for government.
“We want everyone to enjoy a cleaner, healthier country and we will build on our recent successes increasing powers to seize vehicles suspected of use in fly-tipping.
“This way we can clamp down on those few people who spoil our local areas with litter.”