Updated: Apr 7, 2019

Cigarette butt litter is a poisonous problem. Cigarette butts make up one-third of all litter in the UK and can be found on 99 per cent of town centre streets. Each cigarette butt contains lead, arsenic and thousands of other chemicals. They do not biodegrade and young children and wildlife are particularly at risk from ingesting them.

I think we are all aware that, like most town centres, High Barnet has a cigarette butt litter issue. Until the Spring Clean Up in March, however, I don’t think anyone could actually imagine how bad it really is. Feedback from the Litter-Pick brought to our attention particular areas of concern that will help inform future Litter-Pick and initiatives, but the most resoundingly complained about problem was that of cigarette butts. We have started thinking about how we can address this and understand that it will need a creative solution. One of the suggestions we are going to take to the Council is to install these Ballot-box type ashtrays. Customisable questions aim to draw in and engage smokers, hopefully discouraging cigarette left-overs from being discarded on the ground. The worst offending areas appear to be at the top of the Underground ramp, by the bus terminus on Wellhouse Lane, the park by St John the Baptist church, outside the Courthouse and generally along the High Street and surrounding areas, especially outside offices and restaurants. Whilst it can be argued that the Council may not necessarily be responsible for all of these (commercial properties should be accountable too) the pavements are the ones that suffer, so the question of responsibility may be a bit of a grey area. We are hoping to have some productive meetings in the coming weeks, and to have a more definite strategy for how to move forward with this issue.

We will keep you posted! Watch this space…

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