Westminster brings enforcement action over branded cigarette bins

Westminster City Council is taking legal action against a taxi business over its high-profile branded cigarette bins, a move the company's chairman described as "perverse".

City of Westminster magistrates will hear the case against Addison Lee on 29 September.

It relates to an alleged breach of advertising consents at seven sites in the Marylebone conservation area. The 21 cigarette ad bins all have Addison Lee branding, and 19 have Adbins branding.

Rosemarie MacQueen, Westminster's strategic director for built environment, said: "We have strict rules on advertising to prevent Westminster being overrun with a plethora of adverts and these apply to everyone – including Addison Lee.

"We're not against any particular type of advertising, and the merits of the advertising or the purpose of the bins is irrelevant. We will always be fair and flexible as far as possible, but we cannot have any one commercial organisation being the sole arbiter in deciding what, how and where it can advertise."

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John Griffin, chairman of Addison Lee, accused Westminster of wasting taxpayers’ money to take the company to court “in this perverse action”.

“They should be thanking us for doing our bit to keep the streets tidy at no cost to anyone but ourselves,” he said.

Griffin pointed out that Adbins had been operating since 2007 and provides around 16,000 cigarette bins to thousands of businesses across London.

He added: “Westminster argues that we need planning permission for the bins, but whenever we put the bin up, we get the permission of the restaurant. If the restaurant needs planning permission, that is a matter for them.”

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