Litter survey shows fag ends still a problemMinister urges councils to keep battling louts

05 March 2008

78%

Figure for streets found littered with cigarette buts

Environment Minister Jonathan Shaw has urged the public and local authorities to continue the fight for cleaner streets as he published a new environmental survey.

Graffiti tags and dog fouling have decreased since last year, but cigarette ends are still the most widespread kind of litter on our streets - found in 78% of sites surveyed - and fast food litter remains at the same level as last year.

The Local Environment Quality Survey of England is carried out annually for Defra by Encams, the organisation behind the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, and monitors a representative sample of 54 local authorities across England to give a national and regional picture of how clean our streets are.

New powers

Jonathan Shaw said:'We know that for most people the idea of using the pavement as a dustbin is unthinkable. The simple fact is that litter is caused by a handful of people who really don't care that the problem they create costs everyone money to sort out and impacts on the quality of life for all of us.

'We know too that local authorities are using the new powers we've given them to tackle the problem. Fixed Penalty Notices are up, and fine payment rates are up. They are doing more to remove the offending litter and keep the streets clean.

'This survey shows that we are making progress in some areas. But there is much room for improvement and we can't let up in the battle against this blight.

'Worryingly this year we are seeing yet another high level of cigarette litter. This survey covers the period before the smoking ban came into effect, so it's important that we redouble efforts to crack down on those who think it's okay to use the pavement as an ashtray. Blaming the smoking ban for an increase in cigarette litter would be nonsense of course. The only thing that creates litter is people, and the minority who choose to drop it on the ground rather than put it in a bin have no excuse for their behaviour.'

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