Michael Fabricant has broadly welcomed plans to tighten up on litter
disposed of from take-away food stores. Drive-through restaurants are
particularly highlighted by the Keep Britain Tidy campaign. The campaign’s
chief executive, Alan Woods, said: "We’re finding burger cartons, pizza
boxes and plastic cups away from the high street, on our roads and dumped in
the countryside. Much of that rubbish has to have come from the
drive-throughs and its time they, rather than the British taxpayer, forked
out something to clean it up."
Michael Fabricant agrees "But the Government’s plan today for a voluntary
code of conduct is unlikely to be effective with small independent take-away
food outlets. While I can see big firms like MacDonalds complying, I do not
believe that all independent fish and chip shops and kebab houses will have
either the resources or the will to comply."
A Keep Britain Tidy study says that fast food packaging on the streets has
grown by 12% since last year, with snack wrappers rising by 11%. Pieces of
pizza, half-eaten burgers and other food also increased by 7% – eagerly
eaten up by the swelling rat population. In contrast, levels of builder’s
rubbish, household trash and dog fouling has fallen. Junked fast food was
found on 18% more main roads than last year and on 14% more rural roads.
There was also an 11% rise in rubbish found in out-of-town areas.
"I am particularly conscious of the growing rat population around The
Minster Pool in Lichfield and increasing rubbish in Chasetown and up Beacon
Street in Lichfield. Both are due to people unthinkingly throwing away
polystyrene containers – in themselves unsightly – containing remnants
of uneaten food." says Michael Fabricant.
"The Government’s proposed voluntary code of conduct is just pie in the sky
stuff – if not pie on the pavement. Local councils need additional
resources to fine litter offenders and to provide better cleaning facilities
and more bins. I am not convinced that this code will have much, if any,
effect in Lichfield, Burntwood or places like Alrewas where most take-away
food outlets are relatively small independents." Michael adds.
Keep Britain Tidy also wants the law made easier so that councils can
prosecute filthy fast food outlets. It says that while 74% of fast food
outlets maintain they regularly pick up rubbish outside their shops, 97% of
streets are strewn with litter. Michael Fabricant agrees.