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Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:37 pm on 10th January 2005.

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Photo of Margaret Beckett Margaret Beckett The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 4:37 pm, 10th January 2005

My hon. Friend rightly highlights a specific problem. I must admit that it has not been raised with me specifically, but I take his point entirely and I hope that the powers that we are giving will enable it to be dealt with.

On the streets, litter control notices can help in dealing with litter generated by businesses such as fast food outlets. However, they, too, are difficult to enforce, with local authorities currently required to seek a court order. We will dispense with that step to make such notices easier to use.

We will also give local authorities new powers to control the distribution of flyers and leaflets, both of which can contribute to street litter, although I say at once to ease anyone's anxiety that political leafleting will not be affected. The Bill confirms once and for all that discarded cigarette butts and chewing gum are litter, and that it is an offence to discard them in the street. That makes the law explicit and should remove any lingering doubts, whether among local authorities or others.