LONDON, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Fines in Britain for dropping litter in the streets are to be almost doubled, the government announced Tuesday.
From April, the penalty will increase from 80 pounds (105 U.S. dollars) to 150 pounds (198 U.S. dollars), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced.
For the first time, owners of vehicles will face the same fines for litter thrown from vehicles, even if the litter is discarded by passengers.
Defra said the measures are part of a new drive to deter anti-social littering, as the bill for cleaning litter from British streets and countryside exceeded more than one billion U.S. dollars a year.
Environment minister Therese Coffey said: "Littering blights our communities, spoils our countryside, and taxpayers' money is wasted cleaning it up."
"Throwing rubbish from a vehicle is just as unacceptable as dropping it in the street and we will tackle this anti-social behavior by hitting litter louts in the pocket. These new fines will make sure the perpetrators, not the local community, bear the cost of keeping our streets and roads clean."
But the government said that to ensure fines are not abused as a means of raising money, guidance is to be issued to local councils.
Defra said the higher fines for littering follow a public consultation as part of the launch of England's first ever litter strategy which showed the vast majority favored increasing on-the-spot fines.
The government said legislation would be introduced by the end of the year with the higher fines in place by April next year.
Critics of heavy-handed litter patrols in Britain have complained that tens of thousands of people a year are given on-the-spot fines for discarding cigarette butts. Enditem