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I think I may have mentioned some years back (it was about the time Boris Johnson was almost hit by an apple core whilst on his bicycle... he cycled up to the car and threw the core back through the car window, at the passenger who'd discarded it) that I once made my daughter get out of my car to retrieve a lolly stick she'd just thrown into the road.
Why do I mention it again? Because the newpapers are full of reports that in future, drivers may be fined up to £200 for littering if a passenger throws rubbish from their car. The news first featured in the Daily Telegraph, whose reporters had shared the content of a 'leaked' Government document on litter strategy, which should not have come to light until later this year.
It says that local councils are to be given the power to hand out £60 littering fines to drivers who themselves or whose passengers are caught throwing litter from the car. This fine could then be tripled if unpaid for a month. The document revealed that ministers are frustrated by how hard it is to prosecute drivers over discarded litter because they cannot be easily identified, and that in future, the driver should be held responsible unless they can convince the guilty passenger to cover the fine.
The document reportedly states: "Britain must act now to clean up the country and change our culture so that it is no longer acceptable to drop litter". I realise that it could compromise friendships if drivers have to persuade those who've dropped litter from the car to cover the fine, but frankly, the sooner litter louts realise that they're already compromising the relationship by dropping litter in the first place, the better the environment will be for all concerned.
My daughter wasn't in her teens when she exited my car, red-faced, to retrieve her discarded lolly stick. I know the task taught her a lesson in as much as she's never thrown litter from my car since, and judging by her comments whenever she sees someone else drop litter, the severity of my punishment in terms of the embarrassment it caused, has clearly taught her a great deal. Now the proposals have come to light, why wait with the legislation? It's still New Year and time for resolutions... let's start the year as we mean to go on!
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12th January 2017