Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has welcomed the Government's efforts to clean up our streets with a new National Litter Strategy
The strategy, published yesterday, includes proposals for fines of up to £150 for those found guilty of littering. It also brings forward regulations that give local authorities the power to charge the registered owner of a vehicle from which litter is thrown.
In addition the plan outlines measures to better distribute public bins, making it easier to throw away rubbish, and raises the recommendation that offenders on community sentences help to clear up fly-tipped waste.
The strategy also highlights the need to educate young people about the problem of litter. In Maidstone last year the largest proportion of those served with fixed penalty notices for littering were aged between 20 and 29. This was closely followed by the 30-39 years age group.
Cigarette butts pose a particular threat to the local area, with 1800 of the 1929 of fines issued in the last year relating to reckless disposal of cigarette ends.
Martyn Jeynes, Environmental Enforcement Manager at Maidstone Borough Council, backed the initiative. He said:
"I'm encouraged by the release of this strategy. In particular it's positive that the emphasis has been placed on changing people's behaviour because this is key to addressing the problem of litter on our streets."
Mrs Grant, who has previously supported the County's "Love Kent, Hate Litter" Campaign said:
"We live in a beautiful area and it is our duty to keep it that way. This strategy is a welcome step forward and I sincerely hope it can help to inspire a cultural shift to make littering socially unacceptable. I want us to be the first generation to leave our environment in in a better state than we found it, and tackling litter is an important part of our drive to make Maidstone an even better place to live and visit."