Clean Up Britain founder compares ‘snitching’ on people who litter to ‘reporting a stabbing or mugging’ in heated GMB debate
- Clean Up Britain founder John Read urged people to ‘snitch’ on litter ditchers
- Says the UK is too ‘soft’ when it comes to rubbish dumping fines at the moment
- READ MORE: Clear litter-strewn motorways or face being taken to court
An anti-littering activist has slammed ‘soft-touch Britain’ as he urged people to ‘snitch’ on people they see dumping rubbish.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Clean Up Britain founder John Read compared reporting trash-tossers to informing officers about violent offences like mugging or stabbing.
‘It’s about being socially responsible,’ he told Susanna Reid and Ed Balls. ‘And unfortunately in this country at the moment we’ve not got enough socially responsible people.
‘What I’d say is, if you were going down the street for instance you saw somebody mugging or even putting a knife in someone’s back, would you just walk on…or would you bother actually getting on the police?’
The campaigner also believes that the UK’s current fine policy when it comes to littering, which at the moment gives authorised personnel the power to charge up to £150 for an offence, is not harsh enough. If prosecute, litter bugs could be fined as much as £2,500 if convicted in court.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Clean Up Britain founder John Read compared reporting trash-tossers to informing officers to violent offences like mugging or stabbing
John however, wants a £1,000 on the spot fines for all litterers.
‘The whole point about fining is that it has to be a deterrent for people,’ he stressed.
‘It’s not a tax, we all have to pay taxes…it’s a fine. If you’re socially responsible, if you keep to the law, you don’t need to worry about it.’
Moreover, John says we’re living in ‘anarchy England’ as he stressed that it’s a difficult crime to detect on motorways.
Broadcaster Afua Hagan – while in agreement that high fines, and perhaps points on your license, could be a way to deter litterers – is against ‘snitching’ on offenders.
‘I’m against the idea of voyeurism in the name of littering,’ she told GMB. ‘I’m against the idea of kind of making it a kind of nanny state.
‘What we need is more social responsibility.’
She said that she doesn’t think that ‘we should be encouraging people to upload dashcam footage’ but would rather deter people with fines and educate children in schools to have more pride in their surroundings.
Broadcaster Afua Hagan – while in agreement that high fines, and perhaps points on your license, could be a way to deter litterers – is against ‘snitching’ on offenders
It comes as, last month, campaigners threatened to take National Highways to court if it does not fulfil its duty to clean up the litter-strewn motorway network.
Clean Up Britain instructed a leading law firm to write to the quango warning that it is ‘in flagrant and systemic breach of its duties’ for failing to clear the roads.
Lawyers Mishcon de Reya have written to chief executive Nick Harris requiring him to take immediate action or it could result in a court case against him.
National Highways has a legal duty to ‘ensure its land is kept clear of litter’, but the duty is not fulfilled across large swathes of the motorway network, the group alleges.
John had then said: ‘We should all be truly ashamed of how disgusting and litter-strewn our country has become. It looks like we have finally lost all sense of pride.
‘However, this does not excuse National Highways’ shameful and scandalous track record of inaction and dereliction of duty.
A littering activist has slammed ‘soft-touch Britain’ as he urged people to ‘snitch’ on those they see dumping rubbish
‘They are guilty of professional negligence, contractual amateurism and wasting public money.’ Clean Up Britain alleges that National Highways is breaching its duties under section 89 (1) and (2) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
The call to take legal action has had backing from MPs of all parties and the supermarket chain Iceland.
Former roads minister Sir Mike Penning said: ‘We need to see a cultural and behavioural change to stop people tossing their litter. However, there is also an unequivocal legal responsibility for National Highways to ‘ensure the motorways are clear of litter’.’
Jeremy Paxman said it was time Britain took action. ‘We used to be a nation of shopkeepers, we aren’t any more, we’re a nation of litter louts,’ the journalist added.
The Daily Mail has long been outspoken in the battle against litter with campaigns including Turn the Tide on Plastic and The Great British Spring Clean, run with Keep Britain Tidy.
Caroline Lucas MP, former Green Party leader, said: ‘It is truly shameful that all over this nation’s roads we are drowning in litter. In the short term, we must ensure that National Highways fulfils its duties.’
National Highways head of customer journeys Freda Rashdi said: ‘We regularly carry out litter picking activities across our motorways at a cost of millions of pounds each year. The money spent collecting it can be better spent on improving the network.’
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