Call for change on litter laws

HORSHAM District Council has written to South Downs MP Nick Herbert in a bid to get the law changed concerning litter dropped from vehicles.

Mr Herbert is Conservative MP for Arundel and South Downs, as well as being Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, and days after starting a major litter pick along the A24 and A264 around Horsham, the council has raised its concerns with him.

Currently, fixed penalty notices can be issued to anyone over 14 caught dropping litter, but the individual concerned has to be properly identified.

In practice, this makes it very difficult to ensure that littering laws are enforced.

Leader of the council Robert Nye (Con, Itchingfield, Slinfold and Warnham) said: “For many vehicle related offences such as speeding, seat belt wearing and parking, the registered keeper of the vehicle is ultimately responsible.

“Unfortunately this is not the case for littering and we can only issue a fixed penalty notice if we can properly identify the person who dropped the material.

“I have written to Nick Herbert asking him if the law in this respect can be changed so that when we have evidence of littering we can issue fixed penalty notices to the vehicle’s owner.

“Litter is a problem for all local authorities and costs the taxpayer significant sums of money to clear up. Being able to issue fixed penalty notices to car owners would be a significant deterrent.”

Horsham District Council spends over £400,000 sweeping and litter picking across the 205 square miles of the district each year and is currently deploying additional resources to tackle problems with the main roads within the district.

The plea to Mr Herbert comes just days after workers filled hundreds of bags of rubbish clearing the A24 and A264, which have been identified as two problem areas.

Roger Arthur (Con, Chanctonbury), cabinet member for operational services, joined the litter pickers on the A264 last week.

He said: “We would like to appeal to all drivers to ensure their load is secure and properly covered and to dispose of their litter responsibly.

“Not only is litter unsightly and offensive, littering is illegal.”