Important:   Litter can be contaminated, so we have put together some information to help you handle it safely. Please click on this link to have a read through our Health and Safety Guidance before you go out litter-picking.


Litter Laws

Dropping litter is a criminal offence under Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This applies in all places open to the air including private land and in water. Litter isn’t strictly defined, it can be anything at all from chewing gum or a cigarette end to food wrappings or drinks containers.

Offenders can be issued with a fixed penalty fine (£75 by default) by an official authorised by the local authority. Or the case can be taken to a Magistrate’s Court where the fine is up to £2500. Fines can also be issued to the keeper of a vehicle from which litter is thrown.

Full details of litter laws, rights, responsibilities and cleansing duties for England are in the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse

In 2017 Defra also published a Litter Strategy for England

The Code for Scotland is at
Northern Ireland’s Litter Code is at
For Wales please contact

Last edited: May 24, 2021 - 10:02:56