Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Battle to improve our dirty streets must continue

Battle to improve our dirty streets must continue

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (58/09) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 17 March 2009

Minister for Sustainable Development and Innovation, Lord Hunt, has today called for the public and local authorities to step up the fight against litter as the latest Local Environment Quality Survey shows that streets around the country are still in an unsatisfactory condition.

Lord Hunt said:

"The good news is that the state of our streets is not getting any worse, but the small three per cent improvement is nothing to shout about. For most people dropping litter on the street is unthinkable. It is the minority who are letting us down.

"Litter is everyone's responsibility and we all need to work together; both local and central government and the public, to help improve the look of our communities and put a stop to this unsightly problem."

Phil Barton, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive, said:

"Problems such as litter, graffiti and fly-tipping affect people's perceptions of themselves and their neighbourhoods and can also act as a magnet for more serious crimes.

"Clearly a massive amount of work remains to be done to reduce litter on our streets. This annual report shows progress in some areas such as a reduction in dog fouling but the reality is that England's streets and neighbourhoods remain in an 'unsatisfactory' condition.

"We need the support of councils, businesses, communities and individuals to help make the necessary improvements and ensure we all live and work in areas that we are proud of."

Headline findings from the 2007-2008 survey include:
* Smoking related litter remains by far the most prevalent item of litter on England's streets, found on 78 per cent of all sites surveyed;
* Confectionary packaging is again the second most common item. This year it fell slightly from 67 per cent to 64 per cent;
* Drinks related litter has risen (alcoholic drinks up by one per cent to 22 per cent, soft drinks litter up by five per cent to 57 per cent);
* Fast food, which has risen nearly every year since the survey began seven years ago, has risen again - this time by one per cent. Fast food was present on 25 per cent of sites surveyed;
* Dog fouling has fallen for the second successive year. It was evident on six per cent of sites surveyed. Dog fouling has now fallen by one per cent in each of the last two years; and
* Overall litter has fallen by three per cent on last year.

This annual report surveys 19,000 sites across England looking at environmental problems like litter, fly-posting and graffiti. It aims to give an objective and independent analysis of the cleanliness of our streets and neighbourhoods and identify key trends.

The full results of the survey can be found at

Notes to Editors

1. The Local Environment Quality Survey is commissioned by Defra and compiled by Keep Britain Tidy.

2. Keep Britain Tidy surveyors carried out site visits between April 2007 and March 2008 across the length and breadth of the country. As well as looking at 19,000 locations, surveyors studied the wider environment such as 883 bus stops and more than 11,000 landscaped areas including parks and grass verges.

3. Lord Hunt announced the survey results at the Keep Britain Tidy conference in Brighton.

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