§ Mr. Carter-Jones
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consider introducing stronger legislation to prevent the dropping of litter and the dumping of rubbish in public places in urban and rural areas, and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths
The Dangerous Litter Act 1971 increased very substantially the maximum penalty for an offence under the Litter Act 1958. The 1971 Act directs the court in fixing penalties on conviction to have regard to the nature of the litter and any resultant risk of injury to persons or animals or of damage to property. The Government have no immediate proposals to increase the present maximum fine of £100.
Reduction in litter dropping requires a change in public attitude as well as enforcement of the law and an appreciation of the seriousness of an offence by the courts. Reduction in the quantity of dumped rubbish depends on a real assessment by local authorities of the needs of the community in the light of the powers and duties which they have for the provision of suitable sites for disposal under the Civic Amenities Act 1967 and the operation of special collection services for bulky household refuse.
The legislation in the field of waste disposal which is currently being prepared will consolidate and strengthen the powers and duties of local authorities in this field.
The financial support given by the Government to the Keep Britain Tidy Group has recently been increased and the group has set up regional organisations so that its field of operation can be widened and intensified at a more local level.