Graffiti Costs UK Over £100 Million Every Year

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The cost of graffiti removal in the UK reaches more than £100 million a year.

Graffiti is everywhere. It’s on random walls in public space, sprayed over windows and vandals are even painting their ‘tags’ across business signage and shutters. But while some graffiti artists like Banksy can add value with their paint, for the most part, graffiti is a hugely expensive bugbear for businesses as well as the general public.

According to the British Transport Police, graffiti costs the London Underground a minimum of £10 million per year to clean up and the London Underground devotes some 70,000 hours a year to cleaning up graffiti. Even more concerning, dealing with graffiti diverts valuable police time away from more serious crime.

Annual costs across the UK for cleaning graffiti are estimated in the hundreds of millions each year and daredevil graffiti artists are choosing more and more dangerous and exposed spots to add their tag.

See Brilliance Technical Director, Nigel Bennett, knows a thing or two about the problems caused by graffiti.

“We regularly receive calls from concerned companies and public sector bodies about graffiti. Our operatives have worked on some of the UK’s most iconic buildings and stone monuments, most recently completing graffiti removal works at a site in London. Tagging, which is essentially a stylised signature in graffiti form, is a big issue right now.

“A site we attended recently had been spray-painted with tags. Using specialist graffiti removal products and DOFF steam cleaning techniques, our operatives were able to remove the graffiti and restore the surface back to its original glory. But at what cost? The London Underground alone spends up to £10m each year removing graffiti, and estimates suggest that it would cost £38m simply to replace all the graffiti-etched windows on every Tube train.”

On the flip side, a graffiti artist like Banksy can actually add value to a building. Banksy is well known for political artworks appearing overnight and often commenting on contemporary social and ethical issues. Indeed, Banksy seems to be aware of the value of graffiti as art and just as willing to provide a critique of the art world as he did with his stunt shredding Girl with a Balloon.

Bringing politics into graffiti is no new thing. In the 1970s and 80s, various political movements used graffitied stencils to spread messages with anti-war, anarchist, feminist and anti-consumerist messages. Indeed, it is the political development of graffiti that has led to the development of street art as a cultural phenomenon.

With artists like Banksy who fill the walls of art galleries across the world, is graffiti really just vandalism or does it provide a benefit to the cultural art scene of the UK? We all know the financial costs to society to clean up the problem but the cultural benefit is much harder to measure. How do you decide what is art and what is an antisocial problem?

One thing’s for sure, though, local authorities and businesses would rather the problem didn’t exist, regardless of the supposed cultural benefits. And it’s fair to say these benefits are seemingly limited in comparison to the negative costs.

For more information about See Brilliance, please contact Andrea Wallington on 01635 230888, or email Please address any postal queries to Unit M, Venture House, Bone Lane, Newbury RG14 5SH and check out their website for all the information you need.

Contact Info:
Name: Andrea Wallington
Email: Send Email
Organization: See Brilliance
Address: Unit M, Venture House, Bone Lane, Newbury RG14 5SH
Phone: 01635 230888

Release ID: 88901842

Name: Andrea Wallington
Email: Send Email
Organization: See Brilliance
Address: Unit M, Venture House, Bone Lane, Newbury RG14 5SH