Councils call for litter warnings

Councils are calling for overhead motorway signs to warn drivers against littering on roads and streets after being hit with multimillion-pound clean-up bills.

Local authorities in England spend an estimated £858 million every year clearing up rubbish thrown out of vehicles, figures show.

Drivers caught dropping litter out of car windows could face a fixed penalty notice of £80, and councils now want this message to be made clearer by putting it up on overhead boards.

A fifth of motorists and an even higher proportion of lorry drivers polled by the charity Keep Britain Tidy for a recent study admitted to dropping rubbish out of their vehicles. Roads and verges emerged as some of the most littered parts of the country.

Currently the overhead motorway warning signs, controlled by the Highways Agency, only carry information about safety and traffic problems on the road ahead, the Local Government Association (LGA) said. But councils are calling for a change in the rules which would allow them to carry anti-littering messages and warnings.

Paul Bettison, chairman of local government regulation, part of the local government group, said: "It is outrageous that councils have to spend millions of pounds of taxpayers' hard-earned cash cleaning up after those people who can't be bothered to take their litter home with them."

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