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Litter: Fines

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 52409, tabled on 3 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential environmental merits of increasing fines for littering.

Answered on

10 June 2020

Littering is a criminal offence, with a maximum penalty on conviction of a fine of up to £2,500, although most enforcement is carried out by local authorities using fixed penalties. Following consultation, with effect from April 2018, we increased the maximum fixed penalty for littering from £80 to £150, and from April 2019, the minimum fixed penalty was also raised from £50 to £65. We have also given councils in England (outside London) new civil penalty powers to tackle littering from vehicles. We have no plans to make further changes to the level of fixed penalties or fines for littering and have made no specific assessment of the potential environmental merits of doing so at this stage.

Enforcement action should only be taken when it is in the public interest to do so. Enforcement action should always be proportionate, and penalties should not be issued for trivial offences or accidental littering.

We have recently published improved guidance to councils and others on the use of their fixed penalty powers for littering and related offences. The guidance to enforcement officers is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-on-litter-and-refuse