Merton Council hit the streets of Wimbledon this week to educate smokers about the impact cigarette litter has on the environment.
As part of its anti-litter campaign and educating people about the effects of environmental crime, the council’s enforcement team spoke to people at Wimbledon Piazza about cigarette litter and the cost of dropping cigarettes on Merton’s streets – a £75 fixed penalty notice (FPN).
As well as having the NHS LiveWell service on hand to give stop-smoking advice, the team also handed out cigarette pouches to smokers passing by to deter them from throwing their cigarette butts on the ground.
Due to the high number of pedestrians visiting the town centre, Wimbledon has the highest rate of cigarette litter in Merton with over 1,500 FPNs being issued since June. As well as taking a zero-tolerance approach to enforcement, the council works to educate residents and visitors to the borough about environmental crime and the likelihood that they will be fined £75 for littering.
Although a recent independent survey showed that that 72% of residents would describe Merton streets as clean, the council is continuing its fight against littering and fly-tipping. Educating people about the effects of environmental crime, as well as taking tougher enforcement on the minority of people who drop litter, is the latest initiative in the council’s anti-litter campaign. This follows the council’s publication of its anti-litter code, its partnership with environmental enforcement officers, on-the-spot £75 penalty charge notices, the installation of special gum and cigarette butt bins across the borough and new high tech smart bins in parks. The council also teamed up with Love Clean Streets earlier this year to allow residents to report litter and fly-tipping through the free Love Clean Streets smartphone app.
Cabinet member for environmental cleanliness, Councillor Judy Saunders, said: “Our clean teams are out around the clock clearing up litter and fly-tips as well as educating people about the impact litter and environmental crime has on the local area. We spend over £5million every year keeping our streets clean, money that could be better spent on other services. We know that the majority of residents want to keep Merton clean so, as part of our zero-tolerance approach to people littering, our enforcement officers ensure that those who drop litter in any public open space are issued with a fine.”
Note to editors:
A Public Value Review survey carried out by BMG Research, a leading national Market Research organisation, showed that 72% of residents would describe Merton streets as clean.