To ask the Deputy Prime Minister
(1) what strategies his Department has developed to encourage the removal of graffiti from (a) public and (b) private buildings;
(2) what new programmes for urban renewal include programmes to remove graffiti;
(3) what steps his Department takes to encourage local authorities to remove graffiti.
Through "Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future", the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is investing £201 million to improve local liveability and create decent places. A key element of this supports action to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) including the removal of graffiti from public spaces and buildings. The cross Government liveability programme is also supported by the Home Office's 'together' national action plan on tackling ASB, which includes measures for tackling graffiti such as Shop 'em and Stop 'em projects.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is also extending local authority powers to deal with environmental problems such as graffiti, fly-tipping and fly-posting. For example, the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 includes powers to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for graffiti, enabling local authorities to issue such notices to people who commit 'minor' acts of graffiti and to allow all local authorities to retain income from Fixed Penalty Notices issued for graffiti for use in local environmental improvements. These measures will be introduced shortly.
Its up to private building owners to remove graffiti from their property, however local authorities can assist if necessary. The Home Office, through its 'together' action plan, will be piloting the use of new powers in 12 pilot areas, which will enable local authorities to charge back the cost of cleaning up street furniture to the owner.
In addition, by banning the sales of spray paints to under 16s we are trying to reduce the incidences of graffiti.