Two smokers fined for dropping cigarette butts in Banbury town centre

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Two smokers who were spotted separately dropping cigarette butts on the ground have each been fined £75 for littering.

Yesterday (Thursday) Cherwell District Council’s enforcement officers were patrolling Banbury town centre when they spotted a man and woman separately drop cigarette ends on the pavement.

Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, it is an offence for any litter – including cigarette butts – to be dropped on the ground, punishable by a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Mark Harmon, Cherwell’s environmental enforcement manager, said: “In Banbury town centre alone we spend tens of thousands of pounds working to keep the streets clean by removing litter which has been deliberately dropped by members of the public. Cigarette butts contribute towards this ongoing problem and although a lot of smokers wouldn’t drop rubbish or wrappers on the ground, they would flick a cigarette end.

“Although they are only small, cigarette butts can take up to 12 years to decompose and because they are small, they often get caught in paving stones or gullies where they can’t be easily cleared. Across the town there are numerous cigarette bins fixed to lampposts and ashtrays on litter bins which means that at any time, smokers are never more than 25 feet from a suitable point of disposal. With so many bins to choose from, it means smokers have no excuse for dropping butts on the ground.”

The man and woman were issued with their £75 fines, which must be paid within 14 days. Should they decide to repay within seven days, the cost of the fine will be reduced to £50.

Failure to pay the Fixed Penalty Notice could result in a prosecution in the magistrates’ court where the maximum sentence is a £2,500 fine.

For more information on Cherwell’s street cleaning programme or enforcement powers visit www.cherwell.gov.uk