5.4.1 Why do we enforce Litter?

Litter is the most prominent offence you will come across as environmental enforcement officers. It is estimated that it costs between £700 million to £1 billion pounds a year to clean the streets in the UK. This cost is paid for by the councils across the country. That cost covered by the council tax we pay. If we divided that figure between every home in the UK, then each household pays £28 a year to clean the streets.

Despite the laws around Litter being around from as early as 1956 through legislation and from as early as 1933 through local authority byelaws, litter is still a huge problem in the UK. It is estimated that 30% of people litter at some point however, cleaning up is met by the council taxpayers.

The common principle in the industry is the three E’s. The whole aim of enforcing litter is to stop it from happening;

Education, this is the main principle and the goal we are setting out to do. But how do we educate people? The legislation has been around long enough, everyone should by now know it’s wrong to throw waste on the floor. In order to educate people, we first need to get them to listen;

Engagement, in order to change behaviour, we need to get people to listen. We need to explain that it is wrong to throw items on the floor for someone to clean up. How do we get people to listen?

Enforcement – through enforcement people will hopefully listen and stop behaving in a certain way. Whether that is speeding or litter enforcement the objective is the same, behaviour change.