Poll: Spitting ban in Havering could be on its way – what do you think?

Environment cabinet member Cllr Robert Benham: 'Spitting in a public space is disgusting'

Environment cabinet member Cllr Robert Benham: 'Spitting in a public space is disgusting' - Credit: Archant

Spitting in Havering could soon mean coughing up something very different – £80.

An umbrella group of London councils last week set the wheels in motion for local authorities across the capital to introduce the ban.

London Councils transport and environment committee, attended by Havering Council’s cabinet member for environment Cllr Robert Benham, fixed a penalty charge notice for “anti-social spitting” at £80 – which drops to £50 if paid within two weeks.

The decision, approved unanimously, does not oblige Havering to introduce the ban, but makes it easier if they wish to.

Cllr Benham had a vote on the committee and supported the move.

He said: “Spitting in a public space is disgusting and completely anti-social,” adding a ban was “certainly” something Havering may consider. He said he would be taking the idea to leader Cllr Roger Ramsey and his cabinet to gauge their views.

“We are currently keeping a close watch on early adopting councils such as Waltham Forest, to see how such penalties are being enforced and the success of such schemes,” he added.

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The decision of the pan-London committee now goes to the government department for communities and local government for consideration – after which it is likely to become law. Secretary of state Eric Pickles has previously voiced support for such a ban.

Havering Council’s Cllr Clarence Barrett, leader of the East Havering Residents Group, has long campaigned for action. Now a member of the cabinet, he said: “Spitting in public places is a foul habit which should not be tolerated. By having a specific by-law in place it will give the council the ability to enforce the rule by issuing fixed penalties of up to £80.

“Until 1990 it was actually a criminal offence and carried a fine of £5. Since then, the law was removed but these new powers will be most welcome.”

Neighbouring borough Redbridge announced earlier this year it would be introducing a spitting ban, following a public consultation which saw 94 per cent of respondents back action.

The London Councils by-law has exceptions – people will still be able to spit with “reasonable excuse” or into a handkerchief, tissue, bin, or other receptacle.

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