Littering is a costly mistake, Royal Borough warns

Published

As delegates at the COP26 climate conference continue to debate how best to protect our planet, the Royal Borough has called on all local residents to ensure they always put the environment first and don’t litter. 

Two borough residents were both fined £220, with £150 costs and a £34 victim surcharge each at Reading Magistrates’ Court in September. 

Both had dropped cigarette butts, contrary to section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and failed to pay the fixed penalty notice issued as a result. The council takes a zero-tolerance approach against all forms of environmental crime, including fly-tipping, dog-fouling and littering, which unfortunately pollutes the environment for everyone. 

Councillor David Cannon, cabinet member for public protection, said: “When the ground is littered, or fly tipping is not cleared, the council is criticised for not doing enough. 

“When people are fined for littering, the criticism is that we are doing too much. 

“It’s easy to forget that the problem lies with the people disposing of their waste irresponsibly. Littering, fly-tipping, failing to clean up after your dog – all are anti-social, selfish habits, working on the presumption that someone else will clear up. We are all responsible for our actions, and the council must be fair to the vast majority who do respect our borough by holding those who don’t accountable.

“Cigarette butts may be small, but they create a big problem. They take up to 10 years to decompose and the microplastics left pollute our soil and water systems. The Ocean Conservancy consistently records cigarette butts as the most common item found in clean ups. It’s never just one cigarette butt – it’s just one more, adding to an unacceptable problem that is so easily avoided. 

“Dispose of your rubbish in bins or take it home. If you don’t and you are caught, failing to pay the fixed penalty notice is a costly mistake.”