HC Deb 27 April 1983 vol 41 cc851-2
5. Mr. Ogden

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now increase the amount of money available to local authorities, especially to those in urban areas, for the reduction, collection and disposal of litter from roads and streets.

Mr. Giles Shaw

It is for individual local authorities to determine, within their overall budgets, the resources they allocate to carrying out their street cleaning responsibilities. Education and persuasion of the public not to drop litter is the key to solving the problem of littering. In this respect I recommend to the House the work of the Keep Britain Tidy Group, which we actively support. In particular, I commend the Keep Britain Tidy system for adoption by local authorities.

Mr. Ogden

Will the Minister now try to give a positive and enthusiastic reply? Does he agree that too many of our roads, streets and public places are tatty at best and too often downright filthy? Is it not time that an Environment Minister started a "Spring-clean Britain" operation to encourage those who want to take care of their environment to respect and take pride in it and to discourage those who think that the only place to dump their garbage or litter is down on the big hook?

Mr. Shaw

I accept the hon. Gentleman's view that it is high time we motivated people to take more care of and have more pride in their communities. For that reason the Keep Britain Tidy Group has launched the "Beautiful Britain '83" campaign, and I am currently reviewing the central funds with which we support the group, because I commend its activities and would seek ways of increasing them.

Mr. Neubert

Is my hon. Friend aware that among the worst examples of littering in Romford are cars parked on verges and excrement parked on pavements? Can he promise any higher priority to those problems?

Mr. Shaw

My hon. Friend raises a matter which is for my colleagues at the Ministry of Transport rather than for me. On the other point he raises, the local authority is still the prime source of help in dealing with those nuisances.

Mr. Parry

Is the Minister aware that the privatisation of the refuse collection in Liverpool is strongly opposed by the trade union movement and that a future Labour-controlled council will reverse that policy?

Mr. Shaw

It does not surprise me to hear that. It is inevitable that many people will take a view such as the hon. Gentleman has expressed. It is equally inevitable that most councils which have changed to privatisation have shown substantial savings for their ratepayers and a greatly improved service.