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BUSINESS AND COUNCILS BACK GOVERNMENT IN FIGHTING FAST FOOD LITTER

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The government's partnership approach to fast food litter works, and ...
The government's partnership approach to fast food litter works, and

you can see the difference: 20% better in partnership pilot areas but

12% worse everywhere else.

That's why fast food retailers and local authorities have now given

broad support to government proposals to cut the amount of fast food

litter on our streets, and to the role of partnerships in tackling

the problem.

Businesses, local authorities and the general public were asked to

comment on a number of measures in a proposed Code of Practice for

the fast food industry, the responses to which were published by

Defra today. Measures include:

* Clearing litter from the frontage of businesses

* Carrying out litter patrols

* Providing bins

* Minimising packaging

* Taking part in community clean up activities

The comments will now contribute to a formal Code of Practice, to be

launched later this year.

'We've shown that this approach works and now we want it to work for

everyone and for every community' said Alun Michael, minister for

local environmental quality.

Research by ENCAMS, the charity which runs the Keep Britain Tidy

Campaign, shows that though people find fast food litter one of the

top two most offensive types of littering, the amount of it on our

streets has increased nationally by 12% in the past year.

However a pilot project which adopted a partnership approach between

retailers, the public, and the local authority, demonstrated a

reduction in fast food littering of 20%.

Alun Michael commented today:

'Government is committed to achieving cleaner, safer and greener

communities, but responsibility for this has to be shared. We are

looking to fast food outlets, local authorities, landowners and

individuals to work in mutually supportive partnerships to find local

solutions to local problems.

'I am delighted by the constructive response this consultation has

had, particularly from the fast food industry. McDonalds and local

authorities have already worked together to pilot the ideas we are

proposing, and the results are very encouraging. These are simple

suggestions, but the potential impact they can have is far reaching,

and will contribute to a better quality of life for all of us.

'As we have developed these ideas, I am struck by the increasing

support we are receiving. Local radio and regional newspapers, MPs,

councillors and the public all share the view of ministers: that we

can and must change the culture in which litter has been allowed to

get out of hand. Once engaged, young people are capable of being an

important part of the solution. Businesses are increasingly involved,

rather than saying 'it's nothing to do with us'. Though the positive

approach is not yet universal it can become the approach everywhere:

let's do it!'

Jeremy Beecham, chair of the Local Government Association, said:

'Public concern over the state of our streets and open spaces is at

an all-time high - and the increasing trend of eating on the hoof

means most communities now face a significant litter problem.

'The LGA's pioneering work with McDonalds is

a clear example of the difference that can be made when councils work

in partnership with local fast food outlets to tackle the issue.

'Simple measures such as co-ordinating litter-picking teams and

running in-store campaigns to encourage customers to bin their

rubbish can have a huge impact on improving the appearance of our

towns and cities.

'We are encouraging all fast food outlets - big and small - to get on

board with the proposed code of practice and help tackle the scourge

of greasy wrappers and discarded cartons which currently blights our

streets.'

Jessica Sansom, environment manager McDonald's UK, added:

'Improving the environmental quality of our public spaces impacts

directly on people's quality of life and the way they feel about

their community. As a responsible business operating in communities

across the UK we are always looking for ways to engage and promote

effective and workable environmental practices. We have welcomed the

opportunity to pilot the Code of Practice and provide relevant,

useful feedback to Defra, whilst continuing to instigate and

encourage positive change at a local level.

'At present we are running our annual national community clean up

campaign, Just Bin It, which has already resulted in over 250 events

involving over 12,500 people. We believe that this campaign is an

excellent way of engaging with our local communities and encouraging

people to take pride in their local environment.'

Defra will continue to analyse the consultation responses over the

next months, with a view to publishing the final code in the autumn.

Fast food industry representatives and local authorities will be

closely involved in its development.

Notes

1.A full copy of the consultation, the summary of responses, and a

list of respondents, will be published on the Defra website at 09.00

on 14 June at

www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/foodlitter/index.htm

2.In March 2001, at the ENCAMS People & Places Annual Conference,

Defra announced its intention to develop a Voluntary Code of Best

Environmental Practice for the Fast Food Industry in order to reduce

the levels of fast food litter and waste that becomes litter.

3.The consultation was the product of a wide-ranging research

project carried out by ENCAMS at the request of Defra during summer

2002, into the issues surrounding fast food litter and waste, and

their impact on public space. This was done in consultation with

representatives from public and private sector organisations.

4.90 responses were received by the deadline of 30 January 2004;

one response was received after the closing date, making a total of

ninety-one responses. Forty eight percent (48%) of these were from

local authorities, twenty one percent (21%) from NGOs and public

sector bodies, fifteen percent (15%) from societies and associations,

nine percent (9%) from business, three percent (3%) from members of

the public, and three percent (3%) from others.

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