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Spitting ban could be scrapped after Government calls for more evidence
Plans to ban spitting in Enfield could be scrapped after the Government has called for more evidence.
Enfield Borough Council approached the Department for Communities and Local Government in February with proposals for a byelaw which would make spitting in public illegal.
However, the Government department said more needs to be done to demonstrate what measures have been taken to target spitting in Enfield without the need for legal enforcement.
It claims a byelaw should only be introduced as a “last resort” and more campaigns, signs and work around "changing behaviour" should be carried out in Enfield before a law can be passed.
Councillor Chris Bond, who supports the ban, is “disappointed” with the news.
The Labour politician said: “It is a bit strange; they are telling us to do things which we have already done. I don’t see what else we can do and we haven’t got much money so we are doing this with a very tight budget.
“It seems bonkers, it is quite clear everyone wants this stopped.”
He is unsure what will happen next in regard to the spitting ban, despite believing that support for the byelaw remains high in Enfield.
He said some people have to spit due to health reasons and is clear that people could continue to spit in bins and drains without prosecution.
However, he would like spitting on pavements to become illegal.
Although he admits spitting is not the most important issue facing Enfield’s residents, he said: “We think it is a disgusting habit, it is a mess on the pavements, it looks unsightly and it can be unhealthy.
“We are all thinking the same thing and it shows the Government is just a bit out of touch.”
More than 4,000 signatures supporting the ban were collected from the public this year and the issue was discussed at the authority's Overview and Scrutiny Panel and during full council meetings.
If waived through, the council would become the first local authority in England to ban spitting.
However, the Government department said it has not downright rejected the proposals - it is simply looking for more evidence.
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "Spitting in a public place is an anti-social, and unpleasant practice.
"Enfield’s proposals are currently being scrutinised and we have been working with the council to ensure that any byelaw they wish to put in place is robust, effective, enforceable and addresses the local problem."
Although Cllr Bond does not believe Enfield has a greater spitting problem than other London boroughs, he thinks the Government should act to allow other councils to follow suit.
The council enforcement officers, who would be fitted with cameras to prove people had spat, would hand out fixed penalty notices to spitters as well as people dropping litter.
If the culprit refused to pay the fine, the individual would be taken to court.
Monty Meth, president of Enfield’s Over 50s Forum who helped collect public signatures for the petition, is disheartened to hear the Government has not instantly backed the ban.
He said: “I don’t understand what is the problem because if people in Enfield want it, why can’t they have it?
“We all have to discuss the way forward with Cllr Bond, we don’t want to give up.”