Van owners could receive penalty notices when litter is thrown out of their light commercial vehicle – even if a passenger discarded it, under new Government plans to tackle rubbish problems across England.

In addition, those who drop litter generally could be fined £150, up from the current £80 penalty.

These plans, which apply to car drivers too and which are under consultation, ape rules already in force in London.

In addition, the Government said it will work with Highways England to tackle 25 of the worst litter hotspots across the road network and clear these areas, while councils will be stopped from charging people to dispose of household waste at rubbish dumps.

Should these measures come into force, the Government said it will issue advice to councils to make sure over-zealous enforcement is not being used to raise money.

“Litter on our roads is a major and costly problem to deal with. It makes our roads look messy, can threaten wildlife and even increase the risk of flooding by blocking drains,” said transport minister, John Hayes.

“To combat this needless blight on our landscape, I am working with Highways England to target the worst 25 litter hotspots on our road network, on which hundreds of thousands of sacks are collected every year with the clean-up bill running into millions of pounds. By increasing fines and working with local authorities, the Government is taking decisive action to clean up our environment.”

The consultation runs until 18 June and can be found here.