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Environment Environment

Reduce litter

Last updated: 03:19pm 16 September 2018

We will do more to reduce litter, including by supporting comprehensive rubbish collection and recycling, supporting better packaging, taking new powers to force councils to remove roadside litter and prosecuting offenders.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.25

Our verdict

Three quotes from ministers in their forewords to the Litter Strategy for England from April 2017 illustrate the nature of this problem. “Litter is an avoidable problem”, “81% of people are angry and frustrated by the amount of litter”, and litter is not just unsightly, “it is also hazardous”. This policy promises to reduce litter through various means, which are outlined in greater detail in the Litter Strategy.

There has been lots of activity in this area under the current government. In 2018 alone, new powers to block access to problem waste sites were announced; a consultation was launched on ways to tackle criminal groups who profit from waste crime; plans to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers were announced; and on-the-spot fines for littering were increased from £80 to £150.

In July 2018, the Litter Strategy for England: First annual report was published. Helpfully, this does the job of providing a status for each of the 36 commitments in the strategy. In the government’s words, “four have been completed, twenty-one are in progress, eight are behind the original schedule and three have yet to start”.

Our verdict corresponds with those judgements. There is a great deal happening, but this is definitely a policy still ‘in progress’. To move this to ‘done’, we’ll need to see many more actions completed and significant improvements in the statistics captured in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ litter dashboard when that is updated. Follow this policy to keep up with developments.

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