ROAD users caught littering from vehicles across the New Forest are set to face new fines from the council.

The policy will see the local authority enforcing £80 civil penalty notices to anyone who throws, drops or deposits any litter and leaves it in a place which is deemed to be open to the air.

Due to issues noted by the Department for Environmental Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) around identifying which person in a vehicle has committed the offence, the owner of the vehicle from which litter was thrown will receive the penalty notice.

Members of New Forest District Council's cabinet are set to approve the use of the new powers across the district at a meeting on Wednesday.

The new penalty powers would be subject to the civil burden of proof ‘on the balance of probabilities’, rather than the criminal burden of proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ required to issue fixed penalty notices and prosecute under the Environmental Protection Act.

However, enforcement officers will need "sufficient evidence" to interrogate the DVLA database to identify the keeper/owner of any vehicle guilty of littering.

A working group consisting of officers from New Forest District Council, the Forestry Commission, National Park Authority, Verderers of the New Forest and Hampshire County Council is also proposed to assess the implementation of the new penalties.

The regulations have been backed by two senior council members, who are both part of New Forest District Council's cabinet.

Councillor Alison Hoare, portfolio holder for environment and regulatory services, said: "I fully support the new powers to fine the registered keeper of any vehicle from which litter has been thrown.

"It is an important extra tool in our fight against littering and we will work with our partners to prevent and catch those who throw litter from their vehicles."

Councillor Diane Andrews, portfolio holder for community affairs, said: "As principal litter authority this new Regulation is a welcome resource in tackling littering from vehicles.

"I support the use of the new powers in the Forest and will welcome their early implementation."