NEW plans by the Government to crack down on litter louts and fly-tippers are to be welcomed.

Fines for dropping litter are to be doubled to £150 and offenders on community sentences, including people caught for fly-tipping, may be forced to help councils to clear up rubbish.

In addition, there are hopes of creating a ‘green generation’ by educating children to lead the fight against litter and boosting participation in national clean up days.

The CLA, representing landowners, has also welcomed the moves but say they do not go far enough. It says its members have reported big increases in fly-tipping on their land and it wants to see even larger fines for fly-tipping and other tough measures, including more ‘naming and shaming’ of offenders and allowing fly-tippers’ vehicles to be seized.

Any moves which help to halt the scourge of fly-tipping are to be commended. This week the Gazette reports how the owner of the Graythwaite estate in south Cumbria is picking up a bin liner’s-worth of litter every single day from the 42 miles of road around the estate - mainly fast food containers carelessly tossed aside by thoughtless people.

It is incidents like these that led to the Gazette to launch its Stop the Fly-Tippers campaign in February. It aims to raise awareness of the damage fly-tipping causes and urges readers to let us and the district council know about any sightings of dumped rubbish so the trash can be swiftly cleared away.

Meanwhile a new storyline in TV soap Coronation Street, in which character Nick Tilsley has to be rescued from the Morecambe Bay sands, will hopefully raise further awareness of the treacherous quicksands and fast incoming tides around the bay - highlighted in another Gazette campaign Safety on the Sands.

A further campaign - Keep Justice Local - which urged the Ministry of Justice to keep open South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court at Kendal, has sadly proved unsuccessful. The court is set to be closed, sparking fears the move could have a serious impact on victims, witnesses and police costs.

The Gazette - which next year marks its 200th anniversary - will, however, continue, as it always has done, to fight to support and protect this community.