DRIVERS can be slapped with a fine for littering from their vehicle, even if a passenger is the one guilty of dumping rubbish.
Updated laws mean councils no longer have to prove who committed the offence, with car owners responsible for anything thrown from their motor.
Government raised the maximum on-the-spot penalty for littering from £80 to £150 in 2018 to give councils more power to tackle the issue.
Under the changes, a local council is able to fine a car owner if it can be proved litter was thrown from their motor.
Previously, people who chucked rubbish out of their car window were more likely to get away with it because it was difficult to prove who was responsible.
But vehicle owners are now automatically responsible if anyone throws litter from their car – taking away the need to catch the culprit in the act.
One in seven motorists admits hurling rubbish with around 200,000 sacks of litter removed from English roads every year, according to Highways England.
It’s hoped a crackdown on littering drivers will help tackle the coffee cups, fast food wrapping, nappies and cigarette ends which cover roadsides and motorway verges.
Cleaning up garbage from streets costs taxpayers an eye-watering £700million each year.
Highways England recently took part in Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘Great British Spring Clean’, where 19,450 bags of rubbish were collected from the roads network in just one month.
Freda Rashdi, Highways England’s Head of Customer and Operational Requirements, said: “Litter is an important national issue and we’re pleased we were able to support the Great British Spring Clean.
“We collect litter throughout the year but this time we wanted to have a particular purge in a bid to encourage drivers to take their litter home. If people don’t drop litter in the first place it wouldn’t need to be picked up.
“Litter is not only unsightly as well as a risk to wildlife and the environment, but it also puts our workers at risk collecting it and diverts time and money that could be better spent on improving the network.”
The AA’s Edmund King said: “Rubbish from vehicles spoils the environment, costs millions and puts road workers at risk when they clear it up.”