Government launches Litter Innovation Fund to find new ways of tackling problem

A Government fund has been launched to find innovative approaches to tackling the UK's litter problem.

Littering is a common problem in parks. Image: Gordon Joly/Flickr
Littering is a common problem in parks. Image: Gordon Joly/Flickr

Cleaning up litter costs almost £800 million a year and takes up a significant slice of budget in parks departments across the country.

The near £500,000 Litter Innovation Fund is open to local authorities, community groups, charities, educational institutions, and SMEs to apply for funding towards creative solutions to the problem.

These could include behavioural research for better positioned bins and recycling points so more people throw their rubbish away, to digital technology, such as apps and ‘smart-bins’ that can text alerts to rubbish collectors when full.

Announcing the new fund on Saturday environment minister Thérèse Coffey, said: "Tackling the litter that blights streets across our country is an important part of our drive to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it. I pay tribute to those who help clear up our pavements and verges."

The fund builds on the Government’s wider Litter Strategy for England, published in April, which proposed increasing fines for littering from between £50 - £80 to £150. It also published responses to the public consultation on penalties for environmental offences including littering at the weekend.

Communities and parks minister Marcus Jones, said: "The Litter Strategy detailed our plans on education and awareness, improving enforcement and better cleaning and infrastructure. I said in that strategy that I am passionate about our need to reduce litter in this country and I meant it.

"Many areas are similarly keen to tackle litter locally by encouraging their communities to bin their rubbish properly rather than littering their streets and green spaces.

"We are looking to support the most creative plans with a funding boost from the Litter Innovation Fund."

According to the Government, one in five people admit to dropping litter in the past.

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