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Littering from vehicles
Littering From Vehicles Outside London (Keepers: Civil Penalties) Regulations 2018
The Littering From Vehicles Outside London (Keepers: Civil Penalties) Regulations 2018 enable councils in England (outside London, where London Boroughs have separate, equivalent powers) to issue a civil penalty notice to the keeper of a vehicle from which litter is thrown, even if it was discarded by someone else.
These Regulations provide an option to send what is effectively a "bill" to a keeper of a vehicle from which litter is thrown, by attaching civil liability to that person, where criminal liability of that or another person cannot be established for prosecution under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
The powers only apply to offences committed on land where the Council (as litter authority) has a legal duty to keep the land clear of litter and refuse (this means land directly maintained by the local authority or local authority roads).
The litter offence in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 still applies to all other land in the open air (including privately owned land), but the civil penalty cannot be used by the Council.
The amount of a civil penalty for littering from a vehicle is the same as the amount specified for the criminal fixed penalty for leaving litter (which is currently £75).
What to do
If you are the keeper of a vehicle and have been sent a penalty notice under the Littering From Vehicles Outside London (Keepers: Civil Penalties) Regulations 2018, the notice will explain how to:
make representations, or
provide the name and address of the offender.
Liability as keeper
Littering remains a criminal offence and persons depositing litter, whether from a vehicle or not, are liable to prosecution and/or to a fixed penalty notice. The Regulations introduce an alternative sanction where a prosecution could not be brought and a litterer inside a vehicle not satisfactorily identified.
In those cases, the person liable to pay a civil penalty is the keeper of the vehicle from which litter is thrown at the time of the offence. This is presumed to be the registered keeper unless proven otherwise: for example, because the vehicle has been sold or stolen, or was hired out to someone else.
Owners and operators of vehicles such as buses, taxis and private hire vehicles are exempt from liability if the offence is committed by a passenger.
The liability of the keeper is discharged if:
a criminal fixed penalty notice is issued to the person committing the littering offence, whether or not that person is the vehicle’s keeper
the person who littered is prosecuted in a magistrates’ court, or
a civil penalty is paid by the vehicle’s keeper under the Littering from Vehicles Outside London (Keepers: Civil Penalties) Regulations 2018.
If the penalty is not paid within 28 days, and the recipient has not made any representation against the penalty notice, the amount of the penalty increases by 100%. If it is still unpaid, it is recovered via the HM Courts & Tribunals Service's Traffic Enforcement Centre.
Those who receive a civil penalty have a right to first make representations, within 28 days, to the Council under a number of grounds set out in the Regulations. These include:
that the person was not the keeper of the vehicle at the time of the offence
that the offence was not committed
the vehicle was hired out under a vehicle hiring agreement
the vehicle was stolen (must provide the crime reference number)
A person then has the right to appeal the civil penalty to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal England and Wales.
The penalty notice will have more details on making representations.
Note that a person cannot appeal a criminal fixed penalty notice issued for littering. Where the offence is disputed, the opportunity to disagree is in the magistrates' court.
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