Birmingham Litter Charter is launched

By on 28/03/2014 in Cllr McKay, News

Businesses are being invited to sign up to a new charter designed by the city council to help keep Birmingham clean and green.

The Birmingham Litter Charter was discussed during a summit staged in the city today (March 28), with fast food retailer Big John's and pub chain Wetherspoon were the first organisations to pledge their support to the initiative.

Reducing waste from businesses and their customers is the key aim of the scheme, with a particular focus on fast-food, cigarette and cash machine receipt related litter.

Under the charter, Big John's and Wetherspoon are leading the way, having pledged to help by:

- Changing public behaviour by promoting the anti-littering message
- Reviewing and reducing packaging
- Managing and collecting litter generated from the business
- Disposing of business waste responsibly

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, said: “As government cuts begin to bite, we've got to find new ways of keeping the city clean, with less money to do so.

“Collaborative working via a voluntary agreement such as our new Birmingham Litter Charter is the best way forward to help make the city as clean and green as possible.

“We all benefit from, or are disadvantaged by, the state of our local environment, and we all need to play our part in maintaining or improving its standard - this applies equally to businesses and local councils.

“This voluntary code, as outlined in the charter, is not intended to be prescriptive, but instead aims to promote a framework of recommendations for all parties to work together to find the best solutions to achieving a cleaner, more pleasant place to do business.”

The code provides a framework for businesses to firstly identify how, when and where their worst litter problems arise, and secondly to work out the best ways in partnership with other agencies to solve these issues.

Solutions could, for example, be as simple as putting up posters in windows to discourage customers from littering, storing waste correctly, and keeping the premises and surrounding area clean.

Some businesses are also sponsoring the new generation of solar powered compacting litter bins and having these sited in the vicinity of their businesses and then potentially using the bin for advertising purposes.

These measures will closely complement the Government's commitment to develop a system to improve the quality of the environment, and also support the legal principle that the 'polluter pay' in relation to any kind of waste pollution.

Cllr McKay added: “Any business or organisation that signs up to this initiative deserves to have their commitment and effort championed. We will support and promote them through the city council's website.

“I look forward to many more following the excellent example set by Big John's and J D Wetherspoon.”

Phil Edmonds, manager of Wetherspoon city centre pub The Square Peg, said: ”This is an excellent initiative and one that we wholeheartedly support.

“Wetherspoon prides itself on ensuring that its pubs as well as the areas outside the pubs are kept clean at all times. This scheme will hopefully encourage other businesses to follow suit and make Birmingham a spotless city.”

Businesses interested in more information on Street Litter Control Notices or the voluntary code should visit http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/env-health-contact

ENDS

For more media information please contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

Notes to editors

Information about Street Litter Control Notices

Local councils are required to clear litter from pavements and the highways. The cost to the public in doing this can be greatly reduced if people properly dispose of their litter.

A number of specific laws were brought in to encourage and allow enforcement to support proper disposal and to reduce the financial burden on councils in street cleansing. One of the legal powers (Street Litter Control Notices) gives councils the power to tackle street litter generated from certain types of business premises. There is no restriction on the type of litter that can be controlled and it applies both to litter generated directly by the business concerned AND from its customers/clients of the business even if they drop litter off the premises.

Street Litter Control Notices (SLCNs) create a 'legal duty' meaning that businesses that generate litter on their shop frontage and in most cases, also, within up to 100m of the business, can be required to clear up the litter and implement measures to prevent the land from becoming defaced again.

Street Litter Control Notices apply to the following types of business:

• Premises used wholly or partly for the sale of food and drink for consumption either off the premises or on the premises if outside and adjacent to the street.
• Service stations.
• Recreational venues such as cinemas, theatres, sports facilities and pitches.
• Banks and building societies with automated teller machines.
• Betting shops.
• Premises selling lottery tickets.
• Premises 'outside' where goods are displayed for sale on or adjacent to the street.
• Mobile vehicles, stalls and other moveable structures used for commercial or retail activities on a street.

Enforcement officers operate across the city and the will help and advise businesses on compliance, but where advice and informal requests to deal with litter problems hasn't worked SLCNs provide an enforcement mechanism which Birmingham City Council will use. This would place ongoing legal responsibilities onto owners and businesses that are contributing to the problem.

What happens if we need to serve a Street Litter Control Notice?

A Street Litter Control Notice is served on the occupier or (if the premises are unoccupied) the owner, so as to place an ongoing obligation on him to comply with the requirement(s) specified for that land.

Birmingham City Council will inform the person on whom the notice is to be served and allow them a 21 day period in which to make any representations. There is a right of appeal to the magistrates' court against a Street Litter Control Notice.

If a person fails to comply it is an offence with a maximum fine on conviction of £2,500. As an alternative to criminal prosecution we may offer the opportunity to pay a fixed penalty notice instead.

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