Tobacco charges ‘could fund street-cleaning services’

March 17th, 2015 Category: Local Authority & Housing

Tobacco levies should fund street cleaning, it has been suggested.

In a new report on litter and fly-tipping, the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee said that litter levels in England have barely improved over the last 12 years.

Its figures show that annually, taxpayers spend up to £850 million in clean-up costs. The most common type of litter is chewing gum and cigarettes. Furthermore, fast-food litter increased by 20 per cent in the last year.

Levels of fly-tipping were also rising, up by 20 per cent in the last year, with 852,000 reported incidents but only 2,000 convictions in the courts.

Speaking about the findings, Clive Betts MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said: “Litter is a blight on many of our communities and the public are rightly disgusted when they see discarded fast-food packaging, cigarettes, and chewing gum strewn across our streets. 

"Litter levels have remained largely static over the last 12 years, with councils spending hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money fighting a losing battle. government and industry need to get together to tackle the endemic litter problem. 

"Handing a portion of tobacco levies to local councils to help pay for the cost of clearing cigarette litter would show government is serious about getting tough on litter.”

There has also been a rise in unwanted items such as mattresses, sofas, building rubble and other waste being dumped on the roads.

In addition to using cigarette tax levies to fund street cleaning, the CLG also suggested introducing a fixed penalty notice for those who fly-tip household items.

It called upon the industry to introduce scheme to take away unwanted household appliances and furniture when replacements are delivered.

Another recommendation made within the report was for councils to forge partnerships with charities who are willing to collect such items free of charge.