Minicab cigarette 'adbins' in Westminster unlawful

People smoking next to adbin There are 19,000 of the cigarette bins across London

Westminster Council wants a London minicab firm to remove its sponsored cigarette bins, after a court ruling.

Addison Lee provides 19,000 free 'adbins' bearing its logo outside businesses across the capital.

But a judge decided that 21 of the bins in Westminster were in violation of planning laws, fining Addison Lee and making it pay £20,000 in costs.

The firm accused the council of "hypocrisy", saying other bins in the borough were sponsored by Coca-Cola.

'Grounds for enforcement'

Annually more than six billion cigarette ends are dropped in London.

Businesses can request the free bins for use by its employees and customers.

Local authorities have the power to issue £80 fixed penalty notices for littering to people caught throwing cigarette butts on the ground.

Westminster Council's Robert Davis said after Thursday's ruling at Horseferry Road Magistrates' Court that the council will now try to have the rest of the bins removed.

"Our guidelines are in place to prevent Westminster being overrun with excessive adverts," the Conservative councillor said.

"To have buildings in Westminster covered with advertising would ruin the borough's appearance, character and harm amenity.

"Given the court's decision we will now look at grounds for enforcement action on the remainder of their bins."

'Staggering hypocrisy'

Addison Lee chairman John Griffin said that the company had bins in every borough, but that Westminster was the only council to complain.

"Currently Westminster Council provides public litter bins sponsored by Coca-Cola, there are over 250 of these bins in London," he said.

"The hypocrisy is staggering, apparently sponsoring bins in public places is all right providing Westminster gets a cut, but if it's only helping local businesses they'd rather have people dropping litter on the street."

Mr Griffin also said the Conservative-run council's conduct had called into question the prime minister's idea of the Big Society.

"Over the past three-and-a-half years years, we have had nothing but positive words from the public and business owners alike.

"The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is on record supporting the bins," he added.

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