Caroline Spelman's junk mail crackdown delayed amid row
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.
At 17:58:08 in HeadlinesThe embattled Socialist prime minister of Bulgaria has resigned after only a year in office to allow for an early election on 5 October.
At 17:58:06 in EntertainmentDora Bryan was a talented character actress who could turn her hand to everything from musicals to Shakespeare, farce to tragedy.
At 17:56:46 in EnglandA maize maze has been shaped like a rhino head to raise awareness of how rare the species are becoming because of the threat from poachers.
At 17:53:35 in EntertainmentDora Bryan, the veteran British actress whose long career encompassed theatre, film, radio and television, has died in Hove, near Brighton, at the age of 91.
At 17:53:21 in ScotlandThe number of recorded personal insolvencies has reached its lowest level in nearly a decade, according to official figures.
At 17:51:43 in EnglandA man who set fire to a speed camera because he feared it had caught him speeding has been jailed for two years.
At 17:47:40 in TechnologyThe co-creator of a system designed to make internet users unidentifiable says he is tackling a "bug" that threatened to undermine the facility.
At 17:42:16 in EnglandA charity has warned that tombstoners are risking their lives after video footage showed people jumping into shallow water.
At 17:40:24 in EnglandA mother has been given a suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to killing her four-month-old baby.
At 17:36:59 in Northern IrelandThe first and deputy first ministers have reached agreement in principle on how to cut more than £100m from the executive budget.
Harvard CitationBBC 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 23rd Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
EU members states will have to boost their energy efficiency by 30% by 2030 according to the Commission.
The first and deputy first ministers have reached agreement in principle on how to cut more than £100m from the executive budget.
A three-month-old pet emu called Zig has gone missing from its home in forests near Bala in Gwynedd.
Dora Bryan was a talented character actress who could turn her hand to everything from musicals to Shakespeare, farce to tragedy.
A maize maze has been shaped like a rhino head to raise awareness of how rare the species are becoming because of the threat from poachers.
The co-creator of a system designed to make internet users unidentifiable says he is tackling a "bug" that threatened to undermine the facility.