Smoking litter crackdown – No doubt!

Highland Council litter wardens are set to deal with smokers who throw cigarette litter on the ground.

Six months into the smoking ban in public places, The Highland Council has reviewed its smoking enforcement role and has noted that whilst the smoking ban has been widely accepted by the public and businesses, there is evidence of a litter problem caused by smokers outside licensed premises discarding cigarette ends and other smoking litter on the ground.

Now, the Council’s smoking enforcement officers are to be authorised as litter wardens in addition to their normal duties to enable them to address the problem.

Alistair Thomson, the Council’s Head of Environmental Health said: “It is clear that some smokers are discarding litter even where wall mounted cigarette litter receptacles have been provided by the business. Until now our officers could not take any action regarding this as there is nothing in the smoking legislation to address a litter problem. Authorising them as litter wardens will enable them to take formal action if required.”

The Council already has responsibility for controlling litter and powers available under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 will now be extended to the Smoking Officers. This means that any person discarding smoking litter outside pubs etc. will be liable to a fixed penalty of £50.

Mr Thomson continued: “We are not on a crusade against smokers but there is a definite problem in some areas. This has been noticed by councillors and members of the public. Having groups of smokers congregating in small areas is a new problem as a result of the smoking ban but litter is litter and that includes cigarette ends. We will take a light touch approach. Initially, offenders will be given the opportunity to pick up their litter and dispose of it properly. If they do not we will take appropriate action.”

The Smoking Enforcement Officers will take up their new duties on 01 November.

Councillor Charles King, Chair of the Transport, Environmental and Community Services Committee supported the action saying: “I am aware of this problem and
I hope that smokers will desist from dropping litter in an effort to keep our streets and pavements litter-free. Many licensed premises provide bins and I would simply ask smokers to use them.”

25 Oct 2006