LONDON: London's rival free daily newspapers - thelondonpaper and London Lite - respectively owned by second and fourth-generation media magnates Keith Rupert Murdoch and Harold Jonathan Esmond Vere Harmsworth, fourth Viscount Rothermere - are in danger of having their private war terminated by the plebians at Westminster City Council.

Not, as some might imagine, for ho-hum journalism, but for littering the city's streets! Thelondonpaper distributes some 500,000 copies daily; London Lite about 400,000. A not inconsiderable tonnage of waste paper.

Says Alan Bradley, the Westminster councillor responsible for street environment, on whose prime patch of London the warring magnates are battling it out: "We are very disappointed that after nearly four months we're still not anywhere close to a deal with the publishers of these free newspapers which are creating such a waste issue in the West End."

Its environmental conscience suddenly honed by the prospect of closure, one rival at least is ready to talk. Says a spokesman for the Murdoch freesheet: "We take environmental issues very seriously and are working towards a resolution with the council. We are due to meet them shortly."

Serfs employed by Milord Rothermere were not available for comment.

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff