Defra named as cig butt litter offender

The Government office responsible for litter has been named and shamed as one of the worst culprits for cigarette litter in Westminster.

Westminster City Council claims that Defra is failing to tackle discarded cigarette butts outside its offices in Millbank.

The government department is one of a number of high profile organisations and businesses in Westminster that have made the council’s shame list, released on the first anniversary of the introduction of the smoking ban in England.

Council chiefs have also pointed the finger at organisations as diverse as Transport for London, Waitrose, Channel 4 TV, McDonalds, and nightclub Heaven.

A council spokesman told ediethe list was compiled based on the observations of council inspectors, who regularly patrol set zones within Westminster.

Councillor Danny Chalkley, Westminster’s environment chief, said: “It’s incredibly disappointing that one year on many organisations, including some very eminent names, are not tackling the unsightly mess of smoking-related litter left on their doorsteps by staff and visitors.”

A Defra spokeswoman told edie: “Defra takes its responsibilities to the local environment seriously.

“We ensure that the pavement in the immediate vicinity of our headquarters building is swept regularly every day.

“Staff are aware that they run the risk of a personal fine from Westminster City Council if they litter the pavement. The policy of fixed penalty notices is one we fully support. There is no excuse for littering.”

However it is not all bad news for Government. According to the council, two other departments that it named and shamed last year have cleaned up their acts, while it says the Home Office is a “beacon of best practice”.

The introduction of the smoking ban on July 1 last year banned smokers from lighting up inside any “substantially enclosed” public places, including offices, pubs and clubs, and restaurants.

Local authorities have the power to issue £80 fixed penalty notices for littering to people caught throwing cigarette butts on the ground. The maximum court fine is £2,500.

Kate Martin

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