Dropped cigarette end proves expensive


A man who failed to pay a penalty notice after dropping litter has been convicted by North Somerset Magistrates.

Ian Perry of Hednesford Road, Norton Canes, was found guilty in his absence when the case was heard last month (14/9) for a breach of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) by littering.

He was fined £220 and ordered to pay costs of £260 and a victim surcharge of £30  – a total of £510.

The court was told that in February this year a man was seen by a North Somerset Council civil enforcement officer discarding a cigarette in Melrose car park close to Weston-super-Mare seafront. He had no intention of picking it up before getting into his car to drive off.

The civil enforcement officer quickly approached the vehicle and spoke to the individual. A penalty notice was subsequently issued to the individual which was not paid.

Twenty-five fines have so far been issued for breaching PSPOs and this is the first court prosecution since the orders came into force in North Somerset towards the end of last year. While the majority of people pay their fines, some remain unpaid and the council is committed to seeing these cases through to a prosecution.

Cllr Peter Bryant, the council’s executive member for environmental protection, said: “The introduction of PSPOs followed public consultation and gives our officers powers to take action. There is no excuse for dropping litter and this man’s actions made that cigarette a very expensive one. We take the same view with cigarette ends as we would for any other type of litter.”

A recent Keep Britain Tidy campaign has described this kind of littering as “flicking blue murder”. It is the most common form of littering and yet only one in ten smokers consider cigarette butts to be litter.

Cigarette filters are comprised of micro-plastics and thousands of chemical ingredients, including arsenic, lead and nicotine. The Keep Britain Tidy campaign aims to raise awareness amongst smokers and highlights the link between the cigarette butt they drop and the impact it has on the marine environment.