HC Deb 14 September 2004 vol 424 cc1557-8W
Harry Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how Operation Scrub-It has affected the residents of Leyton and Wanstead. [187746]

Ms Blears

Graffiti can lead to an area becoming more and more run-down, with a corresponding increase in crime and fear of crime. Untackled graffiti undermines faith in the services that authorities provide.

That is why Sections 48–52 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 enable a local authority to serve a "graffiti removal notice" on the owners of street furniture, statutory undertakers and educational institutions whose property is defaced with graffiti. If the owner does not remove the graffiti in compliance with the notice, the local authority may do so and recover its costs.

In response to concerns about the regulatory impact of these powers, we are currently piloting the new powers in 12 areas of the country. The pilots began on 31 March 2004 and we will consider further roll-out once these are completed. The 12 authorities piloting these powers are:

  • Barnsley metropolitan borough council
  • Bristol city council
  • Cambridge city council
  • Dartford borough council
  • Doncaster metropolitan borough council
  • Epping Forest district council
  • Kirklees metropolitan borough council
  • London borough of Merton
  • London borough of Westminster
  • Northampton borough council
  • Southampton city council
  • 1558W
  • Wansbeck district council (with Northumberland county council)