Hackney splashback: “Anti-pee walls” being trialled in London borough

Walk through Shoreditch or Dalston on a Friday night and you’ll probably already see a decent number of urine-soaked revellers. That figure is about to go up, however, with the installation of a special liquid-repellent wall coating at two locations in East London.

Hackney Council is trialling a new method of dissuading public urination with a near-invisible wall treatment that repels liquid, made by US company UltraTech. This causes the wall to “wee back” and soak the offenders’ trousers and shoes.

The method is being tested at two unnamed locations in Shoreditch and Dalston over the Christmas period, and has already been used in San Francisco.

“Think about the people living nearby. No one wants someone weeing on their own doorstep,” said Feryal Demirci, cabinet member for neighbourhoods. “If the prospect of a fine doesn’t put them off from weeing in the street, maybe the risk of getting covered in urine will.”

Seeing as Hackney Council spends £100,000 a year cleaning up urine from walls and pavements, coming up with a cost-effective solution makes sense. The council has spent £1,000 to treat the two locations, however, and while the threat of splashback could work as a deterrent, it seems investment in public toilets and public lighting are also important aspects of solving the issue.

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