New flyering permits net city council £3,500 windfall
A council permit scheme to cut down flyering in the city centre has raised over £3,500 in the first six months of operation.
The scheme, launched in late September last year, has seen 28 permits applied for and granted by the city council.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show £3,605 has been paid in permit fees, but no prosecutions have been made for those flaunting the law.
Mark Whittle, marketing and events manager for Preston Business Improvement District (BID) who represent city centre businesses, said they would prefer to see fines for those caught regularly littering the area.
He said: “It’s understandable that some regulation was inevitable in terms of leafleting in high density areas, to keep control. That said we need to be mindful that businesses are flyering to promote their wares, we should never over regulate companies proactively trying to generate additional business, particularly in these times.
“This bill was brought in by members of the Council in a response to large amounts of litter. However, it has been suggested by businesses that an alternative could have been endorsable spot fines for companies that regularly litter advertising materials on the streets.”
A statement in the response from the council to the FOI request states “it was agreed that any persons distribution free matter would be informed of the new licensing process”.
It goes on to state enforcement activity is due to be discussed next month. There are also currently no plans to extend the area covered by the scheme.
A council spokesman said: “The permit scheme is about reducing litter in the city centre and also bringing in some income to help cover the costs of cleaning up.
“As a Council we spend £2m a year on street cleaning so any amount of income we can raise helps taxpayers and is also invested back in the street cleaning service.”
The city centre area where businesses need a permit runs from the West Coast main line, along Fishergate to Fylde Road viaduct, Moor Lane and down to Avenham Lane.
View Leafleting boundary in a larger map
A Blog Preston poll undertaken in September when the news was announced showed 58% of readers thought it was a sensible idea to cut littering, while 42% thought it was an unfair tax on business.
The permits cost £55 for an annual permit, with each additional badge costing £5.
Political parties, religious groups and charities are exempt from the scheme. Council departments are not exempt from the scheme and will have to apply for a permit to undertake flyering within the no-go zone.
What do you think about the permit scheme? Is it a good idea? Let us know your views in the comments below
Image credit to George Thompson