1.The appearance of our environment can have an impact on how we feel about a place. As David Sedaris, author, broadcaster and anti-litter campaigner, commented: “Why should everyone have to live in a teenager’s bedroom? […] I don’t care where you live, I don’t care how much money you have. To have to walk through filth is no way to live”.1 Litter can also affect how we behave so that litter tends to attract more litter. Yet it is a phenomenon which could be avoided entirely if individuals simply placed their rubbish in a bin or took it home.
2.We decided to look at litter and fly-tipping to see whether levels were improving or getting worse and whether the measures for dealing with it were appropriate. When we announced the call for evidence in July 2014, we asked people to send in their photographs of litter to our Twitter account. We received over 400 photographic submissions using the hashtag #litterpix from across the country showing areas where litter and fly-tipping had accumulated.2 Our call for evidence also asked for submissions addressing the following questions:
3.We received written submissions to the inquiry from 83 individuals, local councils, voluntary groups, and the Government, and we held three oral evidence sessions. A list of those we took evidence from can be found at the back of this Report. In addition, a company which supplies “Big Belly Bins” to local councils brought two of their bins to Parliament for us to see.4 It is clear that litter is a subject which engenders a great deal of concern in this country. We are grateful to all who contributed to our inquiry.
4.In this Report we first examine trends in litter and fly-tipping and the surveys used to measure these. In chapter 3 we look at some of the most frequently littered items—cigarettes, chewing gum and fast-food packaging—and examine how to tackle these. In chapter 4 we review the current legislation on litter and fly-tipping, while chapter 5 looks at keeping roads and highways free from litter. Finally, in chapter 6 we discuss a strategy for change. In addition, a number of relevant statistics are represented as infographics at the front of the electronic version of this Report.