Councils and Tube bosses count freesheet costs

As thelondonpaper controversially decided to up its print run by 100,000 this week, Press Gazette has learned that both of London's free evening papers have been hit by multiple littering fines.

And London Underground contractor Metronet has revealed that cleaning up discarded copies of the free dailies, London Lite and thelondonpaper, has cost it an extra £730,000 since the titles were launched in August.

Associated Newspapers, which publishes London Lite, this week attacked News International's decision to increase the print run of thelondonpaper by 100,000 to more than 500,000 a day.

Associated condemned the move as "irresponsible… when it is clear that many of the existing free papers are being dumped on the streets, and London boroughs are calling for both newspaper groups to resolve the litter problem caused.

"Increasing distribution is meaningless, unless there is an increase in demand. The most likely outcome of this latest increase in free papers is an increase in litter."

Westminster Council has said it is seeking a "financial commitment" from both companies to help with recycling costs. A spokesman said: "There is an established procedure with these things that the polluter pays."

Islington Council told Press Gazette that it has given both papers fixed penalty fines for littering on numerous occasions. Councillor Lucy Watt, executive member for the environment, said: "By 8pm every evening, any rubbish left over should be cleared away, or the papers will face penalties. We have already had to fine both newspapers to make our standards clear."

According to the official ABC figures, London Lite had a daily distribution of 400,997 in January compared with thelondonpaper on 436,435.

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