Westminster reopens - find out what's changing and how to stay safe

Starbucks fined £160k for leaving rubbish on Westminster streets

Thu, 11/08/2016

Two Starbucks on Berkeley Street have been fined over £160,000 after repeatedly leaving rubbish bags on a busy central London pavement.

Since April 2015, both stores and Starbucks head office ignored regular warnings from Westminster City Council to stop putting rubbish bags on the street outside of normal collection times.

They also paid 7 of 11 £80 fixed penalty notices, with the first issued in 2011.

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 4 waste offences and were fined £40,000 for each.

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”.

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

She did not accept the mitigation submitted by Starbucks that head office hadn’t 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”.

There are 2 regular collections in Berkeley Street at 7am and 6pm, Monday to Sunday.

Businesses are expected 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 2 hours.

However, rubbish was seen dumped on the streets just after midday on a number of occasions and waste bags were observed spilling and leaking onto the public highway.

Rubbish was also seen left out through the night in what is one of Westminster’s busiest night-time economy hotspots.

Cllr Melvyn Caplan, Westminster City Council cabinet member for city management, said: “Keeping Westminster’s streets clean is a busy job which requires a huge amount of effort from council workers, residents and businesses.

“Hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world visit Westminster every day. A lot of them are likely to stop and enjoy a coffee, but not many of them want to pick their way through piles of rubbish.”

Starbucks pleaded guilty to 4 offences under the Environmental Protection Act and were fined £40,000 for each, plus £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 £60k per offence.

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

Last updated: 8 February 2017