Stop the spitting!

April 15, 2011, 12:16 AM GMT+0

Almost three-quarters of the British public would welcome legislation to ban spitting in public, and would make it punishable with an on-the-spot fine, our latest findings show.

  • 74% say they would support such a by-law in their area of the country
  • 18% opposed the idea

This follows a recent announcement by north London borough Enfield’s council that it intends to introduce a by-law prohibiting spitting in the street, describing it as both ‘anti-social and a health hazard.’ Chris Bond, cabinet member for the environment at Enfield Council, said litter wardens would enforce the ban, issuing instantaneous monetary fines to people who flouted the law.

Officials in Enfield claim the move will help to combat the rising toll of tuberculosis, which can be passed on by spitting. Tuberculosis, or TB, is believed to be on the rise in London, with 41 reported cases for every 100,000 people in Enfield in 2009 – a 21 per cent increase on the number in 2004. The council hope the ban will put an end to this trend, as well as ‘restoring respect’ on the streets.

Spitting used to be a criminal offence that carried a fine of £5, but it was removed from the statute book in 1990. Now, if Enfield is successful in bringing it back as local law, it will be the first council in the country to re-impose fines on offenders. The proposal is currently pending approval from the Ministry of Justice.

See the survey details and full results here