Apparently, Addison Lee is being prosecuted by Westminster Council because of the free cigarette bins it has been providing pubs, bars and restaurants. The London minicab firm is the largest in Europe with over 2,400 vehicles in its fleet.
In 2007 England introduced its smoking ban in response to this and as a clever marketing campaign Addison decided to provide 16,000 free cigarette bins. A great gimmick when you consider how many people order minicabs when they leave pubs, bars and restaurants in London.
Now Westminster council is apparently acting against the London minicab company because they claim they have broken planning laws by advertising on bins at 7 sites in the Marylebone conservation area.
The council is obviously trying to improve the area because it is also apparently handing out £80 on the spot fines to people who are seen discarding cigarettes improperly.
The case goes before City of Westminster magistrates on September 29th. At this stage each of the bins costs the cab company £50 to buy and maintain and there are 5,000 more planned. So the campaign is obviously successful and with 16,000 already installed a lot of money has been invested in the project.
Indeed on the face of it the cigarette bins seem like a good idea especially now a new law has been passed which means businesses have to install receptacles so people can discard cigarettes properly.
An argument made by the London cab firm is the council is saying they need planning permission to put up the bins. But according to them they obtain permission from the business who is receiving the bin. If planning permission is needed surely it is the responsibility of the business not Addison.
Also apparently Boris Johnson himself has been heard saying the bins are a commendable effort to help keep London’s streets clean. It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this case will be on September 29th and if Boris Johnson himself will be attending.