Council clampdown on discarded butts

A WAR on smokers who litter the pavements and roads with butt ends has been declared by Boston Borough Council.

Those who thoughtlessly toss their cigarette ends on the ground will face a £75 fixed penalty fine for littering.

“This is not persecution of smokers – it’s not a war on smokers, it’s a war on litterers,” said Kath Mountain, the council’s environmental enforcement officer.

“We will take action where we have evidence of any littering – and these days that includes cigarette ends.”

The council said that a driver was recently issued with this fine for throwing a cigarette end from his car.

Over the period 2010/11 the council’s income from fixed penalties for all littering offences was £4,115.

Coun Michael Brookes, Boston Borough Council’s joint deputy leader and portfolio holder for street cleansing, refuse and recycling, said: “We are doing what people want us to do – community groups, parish councils and neighbourhood panels all complain about litter in all its guises.

“We are determined to have the borough as clean as possible and that’s important for the people who live, work and visit here.”

In its ‘war’ on litterers, the council is keen to highlight the potential dangers and environmental impact of discarded cigarette butts.

Andrew Malkin, communications manager at the council, said: “Thoughtlessly toss a cigarette end to the ground and, if it hasn’t started a grass fire, the filter tip will still be there when you pass that way in 10 years time. That’s if someone else doesn’t come along behind you and clear up your mess. Because, left to its own devices, it takes 10 years for the synthetic material in the filter tip to bio-degrade.”

The council said that toxins, in the used filter tip, become a ‘dangerous pollutant’.

Mr Malkin added: “The bottom line is that cigarette ends are litter – noxious litter at that. And Boston Borough Council has a duty to do what it can to prevent and deter littering.”

He concluded: “So, throw a cigarette down and it could cost you a £75 fixed penalty fine – more if you want to argue about it in court and lose.”

l Anyone who witnesses an incident of littering, which includes chewing gum being spat out, dog fouling and fly-tipping, can report it to Boston Borough Council on 01205 311112.