Tony Blair wants measures to combat "anti-social behaviour" to form the centrepiece of his legislative plans and flyposting has been added to the list of offences being targeted. Although flyposting is illegal, the law is difficult to enforce.
Two options are under consideration by ministers: a new voluntary code under which businesses and local authorities would agree to remove flyposters and graffiti, and imposing a legal duty on them under the Environmental Protection Act to keep their land and property clear of posters and graffiti.
The Government said in a consultation document: "A common blight in urban and suburban spaces are defaced cable boxes and other miscellaneous pieces of street furniture in public spaces."
It added that a voluntary code could resolve the problem, but might be "sidelined soon after the initial momentum had subsided" and not enforced.
However, a legal duty would impose a financial burden on private companies, the document said. "This change could be construed as being contrary to the 'polluter pays' principle and unfairly making the victim of crime pay for the offence that has been committed against them," it said.
Ministers are to consult businesses over whether they would sign up to a code.