Motorists face £75 fine for littering, even if it's not their fault

A view of the rubbish left by lorry drivers on the verge of the A20 near Dover in Kent as Kent Police's traffic officers continue a crackdown on lorry drivers parking illegally on slip roads and verges throughout the county.

Car owners could face a £75 fine for rubbish thrown from their vehicle's window, even if they were not responsible for it.

In theory, the rules would mean a car owner could be fined even if he or she was not in the vehicle at the time. For example, an owner could lend the car to a family member, whose passengers could then litter, and the owner could still be fined.

The new rule has been proposed as part of a national litter strategy that also means the statutory fine for littering will be doubled to £150.

The move is designed to discourage littering and reduce the £800m annual cost of tidying up Britain's streets.

London has already introduced the law, although it is not clear when the rest of the country will be following suit.

Transport minister John Hayes said: "Litter on our roads is a major and costly problem to deal with. It makes our roads look messy, can threaten wildlife and even increase the risk of flooding by blocking drains.

"To combat this needless blight on our landscape, I am working with Highways England to target the worst 25 litter hotspots on our road network, from which hundreds of thousands of sacks are collected every year with the clean-up bill running into millions of pounds.

"By increasing fines and working with local authorities, the government is taking decisive action to clean up our environment."

Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom said: "Litter is something that affects us all – blighting our countryside, harming our wildlife, polluting our seas, spoiling our towns, and giving visitors a poor impression of our country.

"Our litter strategy will tackle this anti-social behaviour by building an anti-litter culture, making it easier for people to dispose of rubbish, and hitting litter louts in the pocket.

"We want to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it, and tackling litter is an important part of our drive to make the country a better place to live and visit."