Enfield council: We want to ban spitting in the street

Kiran Randhawa, Health and Social Affairs Correspondent
7 Oct 2011

A London council may become the first in the country to outlaw spitting in the street.

Those guilty of the offence could face fines and even court action if it gets the go-ahead to bring in the law.

Enfield has asked Justice Secretary Ken Clarke to enable it to prohibit the practice.

It now needs 2,750 residents to sign a petition to show the Government it has local backing for the proposed law.

The ban, which could be enforced by litter wardens, would apply to parks and public places.

Officials say that the habit is offensive and can spread germs. If the signatures are collected there will be a full council debate and then a formal application to introduce the law could be made.

Chris Bond, cabinet member for environment, said: “We want to ban spitting in the borough but we need to have a petition to show the Government the strength of feeling in Enfield.

“In the meantime we have launched a poster campaign urging people not to spit in our borough. It’s a disgusting, anti-social habit which can spread germs.

“I have already received positive messages from people, not only in Enfield but all over the country who want to see spitting banned.”

Spitting was a criminal offence that carried a fine of £5 until 1990, when the law was removed from the national statute book.

During the Forties, when tuberculosis was widespread, it was believed spitting could spread the disease.

Although it’s theoretically possible for a lump of spit on the pavement to spread TB, it is highly unlikely.

It would have to contain the particle, tubercle bacillus, and would need to be blown into the air while the sample was still fresh and be inhaled directly into someone’s lung.

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