Memorandum from ENCAMS
Environmental Campaigns Ltd, or ENCAMS as we
are known, is the charity which runs the Keep Britain Tidy campaign.
Our corporate mission is:
To create effective action by our targeted
groups to achieve a sustained improvement in local environmental
quality and reduce anti-social behaviour.
It is well recognised that litter, graffiti,
fly-tipping, fly-posting, dog mess or neighbourhood noise have
a damaging effect on the public spaces we all regularly use, such
as residential streets, town centres, local parks, beaches, rivers
and recreational waters, and thus harm peoples' quality of life.
However, these are often complex issues to put right involving
a variety of agencies with responsibilities to maintain and manage
local environments. ENCAMS works with the whole range of local
authorities, organisations, landowners and private sector agencies
to improve the liveability of local environments.
We have in recent years undertaken a number
of projects on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food
and Rural Affairs the government department which grant-aids ENCAMS.
We were commissioned to draft a Voluntary Code of Practice for
the Fast Food Industry and are currently in the early stages of
a revised and updated version of the Code of Practice on Litter
and Refuse. ENCAMS has a long track record of supporting local
authorities with over 170 throughout the UK working with us on
our People & Places Programme. The People & Places Annual
Conference brings practitioners together and ENCAMS' annual Awards
recognise best practice in local environmental quality. (See Annex
1 for further examples of ENCAMS activities).
Campaigning is central to how ENCAMS reaches
its targeted groups. Campaigns can be national or local but all
are evidence-based, using market research techniques to analyse
in depth why people behave the way they do and discover what would
make them change their behaviour.
This submission specifically concerns corporate
responsibility in relation unauthorised advertising (fly-posting),
which we would be grateful if the Committee will consider as part
of its inquiry.
Environmental crime is a broad term and can
cover a wide range of issues. ENCAMS believes the corporately-backed
flyposting described below falls within the definition of corporate
environmental crime because of its damage to the physical environment,
detriment to communities, its clean-up costs, links to anti-social
behaviour and because of its deliberate nature.
ENCAMS research found that 83% of local authorities
have a problem to some degree with flyposting. The majority found
it difficult to provide accurate clean-up costs and there was
a wide variation in what local authorities estimate they spend.
25% said they did not spend anything during April 2002March
2003. However, some badly affected areas undoubtedly bear a very
high cost burden. ENCAMS believes that a good proportion of the
£342 million of public money that is spent every year clearing
litter is used to combat flyposting.
Flyposting is unpopular with the general public
with residents rating the problem of flyposting ahead of discarded
needles as an anti-social act, just behind graffiti and abandoned
A flyposting core cities group on which ENCAMS
is represented meets every three months to discuss flyposting
legislation and the various ways of tackling flyposting across
the UK. This group has provided ENCAMS with an invaluable insight
into the problems caused by flyposting and the difficulties faced
by local authorities. What became clear is that flyposting:
is mainly an urban, particularly
is broadly aimed at the youth culture;
and that much of it is well organised,
disciplined and highly profitable.
Why Flyposting is Corporately Irresponsible
The offence seems worse when we realise it is
often legitimate companies with huge budgets at their disposal
who are responsible for flyposting. It is a well established marketing
device in the music industry. It flourishes because companies
exploit weaknesses in the anti-flyposting laws. Not only do companies
themselves benefit financially from this cheap from of advertising,
so do the flyposters. London-based Diabolical Liberties, which
bridges the gap between companies who want to advertise and the
individuals doing the flyposting, was recently reported as having
a turnover of £8 million.
Camden Council has taken a well-publicised stand
against flyposting by applying to the courts for Anti-Social Behaviour
Orders against Sony Music, BMG music company and Diabolical Liberties.
Removal of posters costs Camden Council taxpayers around £250,000
a year. Despite 50 successful prosecutions for flyposting in two
years, many of them against BMG, the activity continued unabated.
It costs companies at least £40,000 for a legal, mainstream
advertising campaign in Camden. By contrast, the fines they receive
for flyposting have never been more than £750. So they regard
flyposting as well worth the risk of prosecution.
In October 2003 ENCAMS launched a media campaign,
which aimed to get six major companies to cease all flyposting
activity. Research into the amount and type of flyposting was
undertaken in six major cities across the UK. Details of the worst
flyposting offenders were compiled and from this research eight
of the worst offenders were targeted. The companies targeted were:
Sony, Warner, EMI, Universal, BMG, Independiente, 11 88 88 and
the McKenzie Group (Carling Academy).
For the media launch an open top bus with ENCAMS
staff protesting and a Sex Pistols punk rock tribute band playing
on top visited three of the biggest offenders Sony, EMI and Warner.
Letters of protest were hand delivered to the Chief Executive
of these companies and a further five companies received a letter
of protest at the same time.
The campaign was supported by the Chartered
Institute of Marketing and the Marketing Society who provided
supporting quotes for the media. They also contacted their members
reminding them that flyposting is an illegal activity and an illegitimate
means of advertising.
In response to our campaign EMI and Universal
both confirmed that they knew that flyposting was illegal and
that they would remove any flyposting that they were made aware
of. They also informed their staff and any third parties that
worked for them that flyposting was not acceptable.
McKenzie Group assured us that they did not
flypost themselves but they employed third party agencies to promote
all their events. They sent ENCAMS a copy of their contract with
these agencies, which states that they should not flypost.
Following our campaign BMG conducted an internal
review of their policy regarding flyposting and agreed to ensure
that all of their staff were aware that flyposting was not an
acceptable form of advertising.
11 88 88, Sony or Warner did not immediately
respond to the letter of protest but ENCAMS are continuing to
work with the core cities flyposting group to ensure that the
pressure is kept up on these companies to cease all flyposting.
Subsequent anti-flyposting activity
Since ENCAMS' campaign several local authorities
have continued to find innovative ways of tackling flyposting
particularly in terms of taking forward prosecutions. Some examples
of these are:
In May 2004 Nottingham City Council, in conjunction
with the Crown Prosecution Service and the police, secured an
Anti Social Behaviour Order for flyposting against Glen Clarke,
who works for Street Media Distribution Limited (an organisation
believed to be linked to Diabolical Liberties). They applied for
a two year Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) on the grounds that
flyposting caused "distress" and "alarm" to
local residents and businesses.
The judge agreed and stated that flyposting
clearly demonstrated distress and alarm; it is believed that this
is the first time this has been legally accepted as an anti-social
behaviour act. The judge granted a two year ASBO on Mr. Clarke,
who not only cannot flypost in the city of Nottingham during that
period (otherwise he receives an automatic 28 days in custody),
but he must not be found with posters or paste in his possession
within that timeframe. Mr. Clarke was also fined £300.
In June 2004 Westminster sent out postcards
to the home address of company directors who had flyposted in
Westminster. The postcards informed them that they could be charged
with criminal damage for their involvement in flyposting and even
face disqualification from running a company. The directors were
then asked to complete the postcard outlining their intentions
regarding the use of flyposting. A supporting web site www.streetbling.co.uk
was also set up naming and shaming those companies that had flyposted
and asking for people to register their support online.
In June 2004 Camden served an ASBO on two high
level executive from Sony and BMG arguing that these executives
personally authorised flyposting knowing it was against the law.
Camden had staff working undercover in both organisations over
a period of months in order to build up a case of evidence.
Following the ASBO Sony contacted Camden and
requested that they make a deal to stop the full ASBO being served.
It was agreed through the courts that if Sony made a full apology
admitting their involvement in flyposting and agreed not to flypost
in Camden again then they would not serve the full ASBO.
BMG however have managed to avoid the ASBO by
claiming that the member of staff that received the interim ASBO
no longer works for the company. This means that Camden will have
to start again if they do want to serve the ASBO on another member
Defra recently set up a Flyposting Action Group
which will consist of local authorities, representatives from
ENCAMS and relevant government departments. It is intended that
this group will meet on a regular basis to consider possible changes
to legislation and look at ways of dealing with the problem of
1. This type of environmental crime is still
going unprosecuted and insufficiently punished. Loopholes and
weaknesses in the law remain, despite recent measures such as:
(a) Increase of fines from £1,000 to
£2,500 under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003
(b) Authorised Council officials able to
issue £50 fixed penalty fines to persons caught flyposting.
We hope that the Defra Clean Neighbourhoods Consultation will
go some way towards addressing the legal aspects of flyposting.
2. Typically, magistrates' court fines are
between £75 and £2,000. We would encourage courts to
impose fines more towards the maximum of £2,500.
3. It is notoriously difficult to catch
and prosecute the individuals who carry out flyposting, and just
as difficult to catch and prosecute the companies who benefit
from it. A company which advertises illegally has always been
able to use the legal defence of ignorance or lack of consent,
unless it can be proven it knew about, ordered or financed such
4. Flyposting cross-cuts several government
departments: Defra, ODPM, Home Office, DfT, DCMS and, to some
extent, DfES for education on citizenship. It will be vital to
ensure co-operation across all Departments.
5. ODPM's Public Service Agreement 8 on
Liveability should include combatting flyposting, as should the
Beacon Council Scheme Round 6 theme of Effective Environmental
6. ENCAMS is keen to undertake further research
to understand attitudes and behaviour towards flyposting, who
does it and why, what the public thinks and its impact on tourism
and local economies.
7. Opinions differ on the effectiveness
of authorised flyposting sites. ENCAMS recommends an examination
of such schemes, with guidance for local authorities considering
8. We would encourage changes to the law
which allow bodies other than local authorities to prosecute where
properties are defaced by flyposting.
9. A useful resource would be for local
authorities to maintain a database of offenders so they can work
in conjunction with each other. It is worth considering whether
local authorities can co-ordinate prosecutions so that several
cases can be heard together, especially where they are geographically
close e.g. Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield.
Despite much that is being done to combat the
blight of flyposting, we remain concerned that companiesparticularly
music onesare so reluctant to relinquish this form of advertising.
Companies think it enhances their "street cred." But
flyposting is a criminal act which, when combined with litter,
fly-tipping or other indicators of environmental neglect, can
make an area feel uncared for. These are not offences committed
through ignorance or lack of awareness but by corporate bodies
who choose to circumvent the law.
Summary of recent ENCAMS activity on fly-tipping,
fly-posting, litter, graffiti, noise and other local environmental
MPs' Pack to assist in dealing with
constituency enquiries about the local environment at www.encams.org
Establishment of Audit Commission
Best Value Performance Indicator 199 on Litter and Detritus, together
with free self-help training programme (on behalf of Defra).
Local Environmental Quality Survey
of England3rd annual survey to be published autumn 2004.
Annual Conference for Local Environmental
Quality Practitioners to be held February 2005, at which People
& Places Awards will be presented.
Four public campaigns a year. Recent
ones have incuded: neighbour noise, car litter, dog fouling, fly-posting,
teenage littering, graffiti and abandoned vehicles.
Graffiti Community Clean-up Kit produced
jointly with Neighbourhood Renewal Unit for use by warden schemes
(previously produced Litter Clean-up Kit for NRU).
Voluntary Code of Practice for the
Fast Food Industry, on behalf of Defra (consultation stage completed).
Revised Code of Practice on Litter
and Refuse, on behalf of Defra (at draft revision stage).
Programme of Training Courses for
LEQ practitioners on Fly-Tipping, Abandoned Vehicles, Graffiti,
Beach Management, Litter Enforcement, etc.
Blue Flag Award for clean beaches:
105 awards in 2003.
Media coverage on LEQ to the value
of £16 million in 2002-03.
Enforcement seminars jointly with
Defra involving the Environment Agency, Magistrates' Association,
Local Authorities and legal experts to improve understanding of
Series of Clean Neighbourhoods Consultation
seminars jointly with Defra to raise awareness of the consultation.
Conference on Drugs Related Litter
held in February 2004.
Further information on these and other activities
(including research reports, publications and Eco-Schools Programme)
obtainable from ENCAMS' website at www.encams.org