Headlines: May 14th, 2007



With television advertisements being launched today to increase awareness of the legislation banning smoking in public places there is renewed focus on the problems local authorities will face in dealing with cigarette litter and on steps councils are already putting in place to deal with it.

The think tank, the Local Government Information Unit, has called on councils to use the introduction of the ban on July 1st to “reinvigorate their work on litter”. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has already issued guidance which says cigarettes are the most common type of litter, present on 79 per cent of streets.

Gemma Roberts, a policy analyst at the LGIU said the guidelines suggested that cigarette litter would eventually decrease as a result of the legislation but she added, “In the short-term it is inevitably going to increase as smokers are forced outdoors. Timing a ‘no-litter’ campaign with the smoke-free legislation will provide added impetus to its success.” She added that English councils could learn from the experience of authorities in Scotland, where a smoking ban is now in its second year.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Association has pointed to the action already being taken by some councils to ensure they are ready to deal with cigarette litter. Many are working with local businesses to provide ashtrays and special containers outside pubs and restaurants where smoking will be banned and some are even handing out special pouches in which smokers can place cigarette ends rather than throwing them on the ground. The LGA says an estimated 122 tonnes of cigarette litter is dropped every day across Britain. It fears the ban could see a repeat of the Irish experience where figures showed cigarette litter rose by 20 per cent after the introduction of a ban there in 2003.