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Councils key in battle for cleaner streets

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Councils were today urged to continue the fight for cleaner streets.

Environment minister Jonathan Shaw published an environmental survey which found:

  • Fast food litter, which has risen every year since the survey began six years ago, was unchanged from last year at around 24% of the sites surveyed

  • Dog fouling is down slightly, from 8% in 2005-06 to 7% in 2006-07

  • The tag component of graffiti has declined, from 37% two surveys ago to 31% in the latest one

  • Cigarette litter is down from 79% to 78%

  • Public transport infrastructure is the cleanest land-use type

'Room for improvement'

Mr Shaw said: "This survey shows that we are making progress in some areas. But there is much room for improvement and we can't let up in the battle against this blight.

"Local authorities are using the new powers we've given them. Fixed- penalty notices are up, and fine payment rates are up. Councils are doing more to remove the offending litter and keep the streets clean but worryingly we are seeing yet another high level of cigarette litter".

The survey is carried out by ENCAMS , the organisation behind the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, and monitors a representative sample of 54 councils across England to give a national and regional picture of how clean our streets are.

Smoking ban irrelevant

The survey covers the period before the smoking ban came into effect.

"Blaming the smoking ban for an increase in cigarette litter would be nonsense of course," Mr Shaw said. "The only thing that creates litter is people, and the minority who choose to drop it on the ground rather than put it in a bin have no excuse for their behaviour."

Mr Shaw added: "Help is being given to the poorer performing authorities were getting help to improve the quality of their local environment."

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