A thousand people fined for dropping cigarette ends
5th September 2019
MORE than 1,100 people were fined by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [TWBC] for dropping cigarette ends on the street last year.
In Tonbridge & Malling fewer than 50 people were fined.
According to figures from a Freedom of Information [FOI] request by e-cigarette company, Vapourcore, 29,379 fines were issued in 2018 by 180 councils in England and Wales.
In Tunbridge Wells 1,103 people were handed fixed penalty notices [FPN] by enforcement officers in 2018, but just 45 in Tonbridge & Malling.
Littering with cigarette end is a criminal offence and can land smokers in court facing a maximum £1,000 fine.
However, most local authorities deal with the issue by way of FPNs. These on-the-spot fines carry a maximum penalty of £150 but some local authorities offer discounts for early payments. TWBC does not.
Last year TWBC employed litter enforcement contractors Kingdom to hand out fines for dropping litter, including cigarette ends.
The contract came to an end in April, with Kingdom, who earned 50 per cent of money paid in FPNs, choosing not to continue operation in the town as it was not ‘economically viable’.
The Council now say they will be doing their own enforcement for litter, using a number of parking enforcement officers who have been granted additional powers to fine people for littering.
A spokesperson for TWBC said the new team will be in addition to the existing street scene enforcement officers.
She added: “Unlike the street scene officers who have wider powers the new team will focus on littering and dog fouling.
“They will be clearly identifiable and their uniform will be marked with the Council logo and Littering Enforcement.
“The officers will have body-worn video cameras which they will use during their interactions with people suspected of littering.”