Is provocative poster the way to get through to litter louts?

The controversial poster
The controversial poster

Proposals to introduce a controversial campaign targetting litter louts in Lancaster are being considered.

The “Tosser” campaign would see posters going up around the city depicting a man throwing litter on the ground next to a bin, with the words “Are You A Tosser?” next to it.

The man on the poster is Ben Ruth, organiser of Lancaster Music Festival, who has spearheaded the campaign as part of a hard hitting approach to littering in the city.

In the past 12 months Lancaster City Council has issued 32 £80 Fixed Penalty Notices for littering - five since February.

A campaign is being timed to coincide with the completion of the Square Routes Project, which includes brand new resurfacing of the pedestrianised areas in the city centre.

Lancaster City Council said it was too early to confirm exact details, but is now consulting on a pride in our city campaign, coupled with a crackdown on enforcement.

Mr Ruth said: “Similar campaigns have been successful in other parts of the country, with the BBC in Suffolk using the same wording.

“I think the issue is that it would cause offence, but in my opinion it would only cause offence to those dropping litter, which is the whole point.

“I think the council might be missing the point, it’s less offensive to name call litter louts than sticking them with an out of the blue £80 fine.”

Jerry North, manager of St Nic’s Arcade in Lancaster said: “I applaud the initiative and would hope that Lancaster City Council would have the courage to look at this seriously as one of a number of measures combined with serious enforcement to protect the much improved city centre environment as a result of the Square Routes project.”

Coun David Smith, the city council’s cabinet member for environmental services, said: “We have led initial discussions about the launch of a new campaign to get everyone working together to keep the city centre clean, tidy and welcoming for both residents and visitors.

“It was a very positive meeting and it was good to see so many people, and especially representatives from Lancaster Music Festival and the business community, committed and enthusiastic about working to achieve this aim.

“It is much too early to confirm exact details of the campaign...but it will focus on the positive improvements taking place in the city centre and encouraging civic pride while also taking enforcement action against those that refuse to listen. We all have responsibility for the appearance of our streets, whether it’s the council cleaning them, shops cleaning outside their premises, market traders or visitors not dropping litter.”

Suzi Bunting, Lancaster BiD manager said that “a responsibility of public pride of the city should be adopted by all making it a better place to work, shop and to visit.”