HL Deb 25 June 1957 vol 205 cc104-6

My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are using the following text in their anti-litter campaign. "Take your litter home"; whether they are aware that some brewers are giving, the opposite advice, and that Watney Combe Reid and Co., Ltd are advertising, their canned beer as follows: "No Returns. When you've enjoyed your Watneys, just throw the cans away" and "Canned Watneys might have been designed for holiday. makers, hikers and picnickers…there are no empties to carry back with you" whether Her Majesty's Government are aware that the brewers' advice is being widely followed; and what action, if any, they intend to take.]


My Lords, in answer to the first part of the Question, the slogan adopted for the anti-litter publicity issued on behalf of Her Majestys' Government is When in the country, don't forget…take your litter home. With regard to the second part of the Question,. Her Majesty's Government have been supplied with a copy of the leaflet containing the phrase quoted by my noble friend Lord Conesford, and Messrs. Watney Combo, Reid and Co., Ltd. have expressed their regret, through the Brewers' Society, that it should have been capable of being construed as encouraging the indiscriminate throwing away of empty beer cans. I am informed that they have stopped the issue of the leaflet and are preparing a fresh one, which will emphasise to consumers that care should be taken to see that empty beer cans are placed in litter receptacles.

I readily agree that it is deplorable that any encouragement should be given to the disgusting habit of depositing litter. I have taken the matter up with the Brewers' Society, who inform me that they are recommending their members marketing canned beer to do all in their power to impress on imbibers the need for avoiding litter. One firm has already arranged for an anti-litter slogan to be printed on its cans. I hope these steps will be effective, but Her Majesty's Government intend to watch the position.


My Lords, may I thank my noble friend for that Answer and ask him whether he realises the extent to which this deplorable habit has already spread? Is he aware that no fewer than 52 beer cans which had been thrown over the hedge had to be removed from a single property? Will Her Majesty's Government take effective steps, by legislation and otherwise, to protect public and private property from this growing nuisance?


My Lords, I think I have said enough on this and on previous occasions when we have discussed this matter to enable your Lord ships to realise how seriously the Government regard it, and the active steps that they are taking to mitigate this appalling nuisance.


My Lords, does it not show that the morale of this country is very low, if such a well-known firm can issue an advertisement of this kind? What effective steps, if any, are the Government ever going to take upon this matter of litter?


My Lords, I think I have shown in the Answer to the Question of the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, that the Government are taking steps, and those steps are proving effective.


My Lords, does not the noble Lord think that the excuse put forward by this firm of brewers was extremely disingenuous and carries no conviction whatsoever?


My Lords, this question relates solely to cans. Are the Brewers' Society taking any action in respect of bottles, which are much more dangerous? Instead of carrying home these bottles, as is well known, it is considered quite a sport for them to be smashed.


My Lords, I know that the noble Lord is not very conversant with the details of this, to him, sordid trade, but you do get a little back on a bottle and you do not on a can.