Over 4,000 residents fined for dropping cigarette butts in a single year

News / Sun 7th Nov 2021 at 05:46pm

OVER 4,000 in Harlow were fined for dropping cigarette butts in the town last year.

The statistic was revealed at the Thursday night meeting of the Conservative-controlled Harlow cabinet.

Attention was drawn to the fact that over the year, 4115 residents were fined for dropping a cigarette butt, 460 for a rolled up cigarette and 226 for domestic fly-tipping.

Only seven people were fined for allowing their dogs to foul.


Anyone caught fly-tipping can be issued with a £200 fixed penalty notice (FPN) or if they are observed littering, they will be issued with an on the spot £80 FPN.  Dog fouling carries a £50 FPN.

Portfolio holder, cllr Alastair Gunn introduced the report.

The recommendations are below but in the thirty minute debate, cllr Gunn stated that “some Harlow residents are being unfairly targeted”

He made reference to a single mother in Staple Tye, with no previous convictions, being fined £200 for a “inadvertent offence”.

Councillor Gunn went on to state that there would be a “change of emphasis” as the contract moves forward.

He also paid tribute to the Harlow Wombles as well as councillors who litter pick in their spare time.


The Council tender for environmental enforcement services as set out under Proposals in the report with a service specification to be determined by the Director of Strategic Growth and Regeneration, in consultation with Portfolio Holder for Environment.

The current pilot operation continue with NES as the Council’s contractor until 31 March 2022 to provide service continuity through the procurement process recommended at A above.

The Council engage in communications measures to enhance the effect of enforcement as set out under Proposals in the report.

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8 Comments for Over 4,000 residents fined for dropping cigarette butts in a single year:

2021-11-07 18:29:22

Nothing seems to have been done to curb people riding electric scooters and bicycles in the town centre disspite the area being a pedestrian only area and clearly being signed as such. There is also the issue of people drinking alcohol in several areas of the town centre, these include West gate, Broadwalk and Play house square.

Sue b
2021-11-07 19:02:22

So where and what are the fines that have been collected been spent on ,or to be spent on

2021-11-07 20:04:36

How much therefore has the Council spent on the system including, employees, administrators per cigarette butt? Something which is biodegradable and gets washed away in the rain. The money would be better spent on measures to help stop people smoking, better directed at stopping youngsters inhaling NO2, and littering with thousand of the non biodegradable metal cartridge cylinders, perhaps tackling the drugs problems and tackling other issues like plastic in the environment. The list of more effective and beneficial ways money could be spent to improve our town is long. However, a Council that can blow £10,000 up in smoke on a firework display without a thought to charge or pass round buckets for donations to local charities or pollution clearly is not really worried about effectively and prudently spending money. A laser light display and formation drone event could be just as entertaining if such an event is deemed necessary and avoid generating more litter and atmospheric pollution than a million cigarette butts. Quit harassing smokers and them help them to quit.

2021-11-07 20:10:34

NES are giving people fines on private land such as Sainsburys, Tesco and outside McDonald’s Edinburgh way. That is all private land so they should not be enforcing this on land that is not the councils

2021-11-07 22:42:23

I notice they don’t go to the fields or cycle tracks and wait for people to drop litter all over the town they just sit and wait outside shops for people to stab there butt out on the floor

2021-11-08 12:15:50

So at the basic rate of £50 that’s 205k but the question is does NES take that money or does the council? NES clearly don’t do it for nothing so it sounds like the council collect the fee then pass it on hence why there are so many. If this is the case who signed this crap contract in the Labour Party?

2021-11-08 13:37:07

I don't smoke or drop litter and it's wrong to do so but people must realise that these "wardens'" or whatever you want to call them have no power to ask for your details you can just walk away !

Mr Grumpy
2021-11-08 14:36:21

How about fining councils for allowing swathes of land to be buried under concrete.

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