London freesheets face council clampdown over rubbish

LONDON - Thelondonpaper and London Lite, London's two freesheet newspapers, could face a clampdown after complaints from Westminster City Council about the rubbish generated by the two titles' distribution network in the capital.

According to Westminster City Council, an extra three tonnes of waste has been produced daily since the launch of the two London freesheets in September last year.

Local authorities have described the current situation as "untenable" and an "eyesore" for tourists workers in the capital.

Reports state that News International and Associated Newspapers will be asked to make a substantial contribution towards a £500,000 clean-up operation in the centre of London, with local authorities prepared to use the Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act in order for its demands to be met.

It is understood that Westminster City Council is not advocating an outright ban on the distribution of thelondonpaper and London Lite, but could impose restrictions on areas worst affected by litter, which include the London's West End.

However, any restrictions imposed by the authorities would impact on an already aggressive circulation fight between the News International-owned thelondonpaper, Associated's London Lite and sister paid-for title The Evening Standard.

In the ABC figures for December, The Evening Standard dropped by 18% year on year to 263,095, while London Lite clocked its highest circulation to date, rising to 400,692. Thelondonpaper dropped by 3.43% month on month to 410,898.

Alan Bradley, Westminster Council cabinet member for street environment, said: "There is now an established principle in environmental matters that the polluter pays. We are in negotiations with the publishers, and we are hopeful of reaching agreement with them both.

"Everybody is acutely aware that the current situation is untenable, and that urgent action is needed to address this unprecedented volume of waste."

As reported on Brand Republic in October, four London boroughs lobbied Parliament about the increase in litter generated by the introduction of the two London freesheets, with the threat of individual licences being revoked if distributors were found to be acting irresponsibly.

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