Page last updated at 12:24 GMT, Thursday, 19 January 2012

Spelman 'appalled' by roadside litter

Ministers have been urged to crack down on roadside litter as Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman told MPs she was "appalled" at the amount of rubbish thrown from car windows.

Speaking at questions on 19 January 2012, Liberal Democrat Annette Brooke asked what was being done to empower councils to punish motorists who drop litter along busy roads, describing the problem as "a real blot on the landscape".

Mrs Spelman agreed, telling MPs that, as a keen jogger, she was shocked by the amount of litter "casually dropped out of car windows".

The environment secretary said tackling the issue should "start in school" and suggested children could be taken out on community litter picks to show them "clearly what a nuisance this is".

She also highlighted the "interesting opportunity" presented by a private bill currently going through Parliament which would enable local authorities in London to tackle roadside littering by making it a civil offence.

But Labour's Yvonne Fovargue criticised the decision to cut the funding grant for the charity Keep Britain Tidy, claiming that the organisation had lost 50% of its staff as a result.

She asked: "What impact will this have on litter campaigns?"

The Environment Secretary brushed off the criticism, telling MPs: "As always, that type of question from the opposition noticeably skirts over the reality that we are dealing with a deficit we have inherited from the previous government.

"The point is, we need to do this together," Mrs Spelman concluded.

MPs concluded the session with questions to the Church Commissioners, Public Accounts Commission and the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Government and opposition

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