22/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 00:02

Caroline Spelman's junk mail crackdown delayed amid row

Category: Politics

Published: 27th Jul 2012 18:19:31

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has been forced to delay plans to make it easier for people to stop junk mail, it has emerged.

The minister vowed last year to end the "mountain" of unwanted post faced by many households.

But a new opt-out website promised for April failed to materialise after a row with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which is due to run the scheme.

Both sides insist the site will be launched "as soon as possible".

However, Robert Rijhkof, of the Stop Junk Mail campaign, said: "It really looks like it is not going to happen at all."

Mr Rijkhof, who uncovered the row through Freedom of Information requests and has written about it on his blog, said: "It's about the junk mail industry being unwilling to make reducing unsolicited leaflets easier and a government department, Defra, being unable to defend its corner."

Under the proposed Door Drop Preference Service, householders were meant to be able to opt out of receiving unsolicited flyers by contacting a single website rather than the three different services currently in existence.

We are disappointed that the DMA have failed to launch the website on time”

But the DMA has accused Defra of reneging on an agreement to include publishers of free newspapers in the scheme.

The trade body argues that if its members sign up to the opt-out scheme, firms will simply switch their junk mail advertising to newspapers and other methods of delivery.

Defra says it had a deal with the DMA to deliver the website in April and has held talks with other trade bodies representing local newspapers and other businesses, with a view to including them in the opt-out scheme.

A Defra spokesperson said: "The responsibility deal we agreed with the DMA was set up to help households opt out of unwanted and unnecessary mail.

"We have met with other relevant industries to encourage them to adopt similar commitments in line with our part of the agreement.

"We are disappointed that the DMA have failed to launch the website on time but we are working with them to deliver this service for consumers as soon as possible."

But the DMA insisted it was Defra that had not stuck to its side of the deal.

DMA chief of operations Mike Lordan said they had entered into an agreement with the government department on the understanding ministers would make an effort to sign up other trade organisations to the voluntary scheme.

He said the DMA had completed construction of the website by April, as agreed, and was ready to "push the button" on it as soon as the other groups came on board.

"We really do need Defra to put a lot more pressure on these other bodies," he added.

The average UK household receives more than 370 items of unsolicited paper mail a year, the majority of it unaddressed.

UK-wide, an estimated nine billion items of unaddressed mail are sent every year. According to the Royal Mail, more than 17 million people bought from a posted catalogue last year.

At the moment, people seeking to block junk mail have to register on each of the Mailing Preference Service, the Your Choice Preference System and the Royal Mail's Door-to-Door opt-out service.

Marketing bodies say the direct mail industry supports 280,000 jobs and generates billions in income.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Caroline Spelman's junk mail crackdown delayed amid row [Online] (Updated 27th Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1443168/Caroline-Spelmans-junk-mail-crackdown-delayed-amid-row [Accessed 22nd Aug 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Morfa Nefyn 'choking' death girl named as Jasmine Lapsley

    A six-year-old girl who is believed to have choked while on holiday with her family in Gwynedd has been named as Jasmine Lapsley.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Scottish independence: Last debate at Holyrood before vote

    Members of the Scottish parliament have been debating the country's future.
  • Hackney stab murder suspect youths charged

    Two teenagers have been charged with the murder of 19-year-old Charlie Burns in Hackney, east London.
  • BBC 'acted appropriately' in Sir Cliff Richard coverage

    BBC journalists "acted appropriately" in coverage of the police search of Sir Cliff Richard's home, director general Tony Hall has said.
  • Tor Project's struggle to keep the dark net in the shadows

    Leo Kelion speaks to Andrew Lewman, executive director of the Tor Project