Coffee chain fined £160k for leaving rubbish bags on London streets

Starbucks has been fined more than £160,000 after two stores in central London repeatedly left rubbish bags on a busy pavement outside of normal collection times.

Westminster City Council prosecuted the company after issuing regular warnings to the stores in Berkeley Street and Starbucks’ head office since April 2015.

The company had paid 7 of 11 £80 fixed penalty notices, with the first issued in 2011.

According to the council, however, “bags continued to be left on the street for hours, cluttering the pavement and resulting in rubbish spilling out onto the pavement”.

Starbucks pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates Court to four waste offences under the Environmental Protection Act and was fined £40,000 for each. It was also ordered to pay £3,501.17 in costs and a £120 victim surcharge. The fine was reduced by a third on the basis of the guilty plea, from £60,000 per offence.

The company is to pay the amount in full within 28 days.

Cllr Nickie Aiken, Westminster City Council cabinet member for licensing and public protection, said: “Starbucks have shown a complete disregard for local residents and visitors to this historic part of Westminster.

“On a regular basis Starbucks dumped their rubbish straight onto the pavement rather than following very simple collection schedules. 

“This sentence proves that every business has a responsibility to keep our streets clean and tidy, regardless of the size of the company”.

At Westminster Magistrates court District Judge Coleman said that Starbucks had acted in a “deliberate” manner, ignoring complaints from residents’ associations and warnings from Westminster City Council.

She did not accept the mitigation submitted by Starbucks that head office had not been aware at the appropriate times due to internal procedures.

Westminster City Council had written to Starbucks head office on a number of occasions to raise the issue.

Coleman added that there was a “history of non-compliance” from Starbucks and noted the “prestigious” location and impact on the “local amenity”.

Westminster expects businesses to put rubbish out no more than 30 minutes prior to the collection time and waste should stay on the street for no more than two hours.

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Team @ AberdareOnline

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