More than 3,000 fines issued in Burnley for dropped cigarette butts

Burnley Borough Council has warned residents not to drop cigarette butts on our streets after new data revealed it issued more than 3,000 fines last year for the offence.

Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 4:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 5:18 pm
Burnley Council issued more than 3,000 fines for dropping cigarette butts last year

To identify smokers’ perceptions of cigarette littering on the nation's streets, filed a Freedom of Information request to the192 district councils across England and, out of those responding, found that Burnley was top of the list.

The council issued 3,174 fines last year, and bosses at the authority said it would continue to do so as it fights the environmental impact of such littering.

A Burnley Council spokesman said: "Cigarette butts are litter, as much an empty can or crisp packet, and make a mess of our local streets and parks.

"These figures show how effective we are and how we are working hard to tackle littering and the small minority who simply don't care about our borough or the effect their behaviour has. We don't want our streets full of discarded cigarette ends and neither do most other people.

"We don't want to have to fine people for this kind of behaviour; we'd rather it didn't happen and we hope that by enforcing the law we can change people's habits and encourage them to use a bin rather than dropping their cigarette on the floor. It's easy to avoid a fine - just don't drop litter. If you are fined and don't pay up then we will take you to court."

Keep Britain Tidy, an independent environmental charity, recently launched #BinTheButt, a national campaign targeting the issue of cigarette litter. As per the Local Environment Quality Survey of England (2017/18), the most common littered item were cigarette butts; found in 5,688 sites surveyed (79%).

Charles Bloom, managing director of Vapourcore, said: "We know that more than 70% of our streets are littered with cigarette butts, as per findings from Keep Britain Tidy. No matter the reason for littering, it is our responsibility as a nation to appropriately educate smokers on how best to get rid of a used cigarette without harming our environment further."

Around 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are estimated to be discarded each year around the world, believed to be the most pervasive form of plastic pollution.

As well as plastic, the butts are filled with thousands of toxic chemicals, including arsenic, lead and nicotine. This is highly detrimental to marine life – one cigarette is all it takes per litre of water to become toxic.

To view the findings in total visit