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Spitting and Urinating

From September 2015 Bedford Borough Council will be enforcing against spitting or urinating on public surfaces, roads, pavements or streets.Spitting

Consultation carried out with the public by the borough council has found overwhelming support for spitting and urinating in the street to be outlawed. People still see spitting as a potential health hazard and are concerned about the anti-social aspects of spitting and, by and large, spitting is no longer socially acceptable

The council has now made it an offence to spit or urinate in public under the same legislation which makes it unlawful to throw litter down in the street. Anything thrown down in the street which is not picked up can be classed as litter – from a fish and chip wrapper, to a cigarette, to spit!

Anyone caught spitting or urinating in public by authorised council officers will be issued with a £75 on the spot Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), in line with the penalty to those caught littering. 

Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “Spitting and urinating on public surfaces, roads, pavements and streets is a filthy habit and an issue that people regularly raise with me and the council. Spitting and urinating in the borough streets is not socially acceptable.”

A legal precedent has been set in other parts of the country, backed by local government and at the time Communities Minister Eric Pickles, making spitting illegal.

 

Facts and Information

Two men who refused to pay a fixed penalty fine issued by Waltham Forest Council in north-east London for spitting in the street have been fined £160 each after the case was dealt with in court. It was the first to prosecute  successfully for spitting.

 

There have been some suggestions that spitting can spread diseases and illnesses such as tuberculosis, but this is arguable. Notices prohibiting spitting were common in the 1940s when connections were made with increased numbers of cases of tuberculosis, leading to death. The World Health Organisation reported in March 2014: “Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs. TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.”

 

Spitting is still viewed as a potential health hazard and people are concerned about the anti-social aspects of spitting.

Spitting into a handkerchief or tissue would not be considered an offence.