Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

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by Ian Shires on 18 November, 2013

Published by les bonner North East Lincolnshire Liberal Democrat November 17th, 2013

Cleaning up litter costs taxpayers almost £1 billion a year in England. The social and environmental costs take that figure even higher, as do the costs to business and tourism. Despite promising action on preventing litter in the Coalition Agreement, the government has stepped away. But Keep Britain Tidy hasn’t given up and neither have our 100,000 supporters.

Campaigning charity Keep Britain Tidy is releasing a hard-hitting report that poses a question to government, to businesses and to people when it comes to litter – which side of the fence are you on?

As a country, in England, we spend £1 billion of taxpayers’ money on picking up the litter that 62 per cent of people drop on our streets, in our parks and on our beaches.

This is money that could pay for 38,644 social care workers, the costs of 4,400 libraries or 33,200 nurses.

Businesses feel the negative effects of litter in two ways. Research shows that people are less likely to spend time in areas that are littered and, therefore, if a shopping area is littered consumers will avoid it.

In addition, there is an impact on brands that appear on the ground as litter. An academic study by professors from Manchester Business School found that there can be a negative impact on the public’s perception of a brand when its packaging is seen as litter. This study suggested litter could cost as much as 2% of turnover and is backed up by a recent Keep Britain Tidy survey that revealed that more than a third of respondents would be less likely to buy from a brand they see as litter on the street.

More and more people, businesses and other organisations are making it clear which side of the fence they are on. They’re choosing to fight litter.

We need you to be part of the solution: Sign our pledge!

Businesses and Organisations: Join us on the right side of the fence.


Keep Britain Tidy’s national debate on litter, The Big Litter Inquiry, showed that we need to give people a voice if we are to solve the nation’s litter problem.

The Big Litter Inquiry took place in spring/summer 2013 and was an opportunity for people to learn, explore and make recommendations in how we prevent litter across England. It was undertaken as part of Keep Britain Tidy’s Which side of the fence are you on? campaign and clearly highlights that the public think that businesses and the government should take more responsibility for litter

Read the full Big Litter Inquiry report


2 Responses

  1. Zilch UK says:

    Everyone has known for years that, with the exception of smokers and gum-chewers who think their habit gives them the right to leave their filth everywhere, it’s a small minority of individuals who are responsible for the vast majority of litter.

    We’ve also known that nobody likes litter and that there are very few who aren’t aware that littering is not the right thing to do.

    Irresponsibility, selfishness and bloody mindedness all contribute to the malaise but at the end of the day there is no excuse for what is an entirely voluntary and avoidable activity.

    Those Councils that are taking a robust and direct approach are having success and this is the way we need to go.

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