Waste crime – littering from a vehicle

Waste crime – littering from a vehicle

Under new measures in the Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill, new penalties can be issued by local authorities and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) for littering from a vehicle. This new type of fine would be issued to the owner of the vehicle. This means that the person who owns the vehicle will be deemed responsible for litter thrown out of the vehicle, regardless of who committed the offense. The Committee wants to know if you support these new enforcement powers. If you agree with this proposal, rate it up (👍), if you disagree, rate it down (👎). Please tell us why you agree or disagree using the comment boxes below. Is littering from vehicles an issue in your area? Do you think this new penalty provides a solution that would reduce littering from vehicles?


I'll cautiously say yes to this with the major caveat that there needs to be a focus on intent and an independent review process for complaints. It's very easy to abuse any regulations like these especially as a revenue driver.

the culture of fly-tipping is out of control, I see people throwing litter from vehicles all the time and the culture of the trucks/vans littering up every lay-by in the country must stop.

another law that will not be enforced - so what's the point of spending time, resources and energy on creating this? I absolutely agree with this in principle, however the execution of this needs to be thought through with the use of technology to capture those responsible as LA's/SEPA just don't have the resources! Why don't you invest the funds into a circular economy enforcement group across all of Scotland and measure them on their success

While I do not object to fines for people littering from vehicles, tackling littering has nothing to do with promoting a circular economy. If avoidable single-use items were systematically prevented, then the litter problem would disappear. We need to focus our actions on changing the way products are delivered so they do not come in disposable plastic packaging. People will continue to litter as long as single-use packaging is widespread. Moreover, it is clear that the current £80 fine for littering simply doesn’t work – it is not enforced and it is not high enough. Countries like the Netherlands and Germany have fines in the €3-5,000 range that have proved to be very effective – it only needs fines like this to be enforced a few times before people stop littering. I would also suggest that signs saying “do not litter” are a waste of time, as the people who are going to litter are not going to be put off by a sign like this – on the contrary, this sector of the population is more likely to litter if you tell them not to do it. It may be worth looking at some of the more creative signs that are designed to shame or cause embarrassment to people seen littering – e.g. the East Sands in Nairn have one with statements and check boxes along the lines of “I’m proud to be Scottish but couldn’t care less about Scotland’s environment”, “I’m a numpty”, “I expect other people to clean up my mess”. This humorous approach may be more effective than finger-wagging signs.

No one should be littering. Items would not be thrown away if they weren’t single use in the first place.

I totally agree with fining people who throw litter out of cars and who flytip but wonder how it will be enforced. It also needs to be a decent fine in the £1000 mark. Deposit return would have helped address half the litter on the side of the roads (and given some money back to the 100's of volunteers who pick it up too) so this needs to happen asap. Really stopping the production of these single-use items is the key if you want a circular economy.

Fines for other types of littering exist and they clearly have not addressed the problem. Initiatives aimed at changing littering habits are needed, together with educational programmes so that new generations litter less. There should be a bigger effort to reduce packaging and making it more environmentally friendly, so that people could litter less in the first place and also so that if and when litter ends up in the environment it causes less problems

I agree with this in principle however littering fines are currently never enforced, so what’s the point of adding more unenforced legislation? Contents of this bill seem to have far too narrow a scope, emphasis should be on creating a truly circular economy not solely on recycling and littering.

People will continue to litter as long as single-use packaging is widespread.

We have laws already that ban people from littering, whether it is from a car, on the streets or in parks and on the beach.

This is a huge problem down all well used roads across the country. Obviously it would be ideal to penalise people who throw litter out of their cars but it is difficult to see how it will be policed. I never see people throwing rubbish out but a litter picking expedition down a main road yields so much rubbish, particularly plastic bottles and cans. We need the deposit scheme on these items to go ahead!

I agree with the principal but fining littering has nothing directly to do with promoting a circular economy. Single-use items should be really rare object and certainly not used for food or drink. This would dramatically reduce the litter problem. Current litter fines are very rarely enforced and so don't work. We need to change the way things are packaged and peoples mindsets.

I see drivers throwing out litter and have been hit by a plastic bottle from a car.

I agree in principle, but it is unclear how this would be policed.

Litter is a huge issue however the reality of policing it is impossible in reality.

This is clearly a crime and a practical way of discouraging this practice through penalties should be found

The deposit return scheme would have helped with this issue. Needs to be tackled at source by doing away with single use and non-returnable items. Introducing a far higher fine may help. Enforcement is a major problem - maybe there is a tech solution to be developed?

Of course any reasonable person wants a litter free environment. But it is the unreasonable & selfish person who litters in the first place. How on earth will you police this fine? But public litterbins need to be emptied daily. I see stuffed bins in populated areas and roadside laybys - so ppl want to do the right thing- which are ripped up overnight by cats/dogs/foxes and whatever else and then is spread all over the area by the wind! Remove the bins and the mindless morons chuck their stuff out anyway. We cant have cameras all along the highways and in every parking up place. We need a transformation in mindset, like the clunk-click campaign for seat-belts in the 70s. And a transformation in packaging so that it is actually biodegradeable. Before everything was plastic, everything was paper or cardboard. Waxed where necessary for liquids & wet food. And children taught to throw out nothing but applecores But the adults are worse offenders than the kids.

People will continue to litter as long as single-use packaging is widespread.

This is asking the wrong question and getting the wrong answer ... if the Circular Economy is adopted the materials that are currently considered to be waste or trash will have value and will not be thrown away. The bill should be focussing making that transition happen as fast as possible so the issue of waste is a thing of the past.

We already have penalties for littering that are so rarely enforced to render them useless. We need to make littering as unacceptable as drink driving, social change in attitudes to all waste required

Forcing owners to be liable is one way of doing it. Not sure it's the best way but no one should ever be littering out of their cars. This bill should be focusing on reducing the amount of plastic packaging waste that the consumer ever receives.

While I agree there needs to be enforcement if this is to become a useful change to the law

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