Over 50% of WISE fines for cigarette butts

Over 50% of WISE fines for cigarette butts

A total of 1,647 fixed penalty fines have been handed out by Waste Investigations Support & Enforcement (WISE) in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council area between August 2, 2021 and November 30, 2021 with over 66% of them being dished out in Coleraine.

A report which will be brought before the Environmental Services Committee on Tuesday evening states that 54.22% of the fines issued were for littering – cigarette butt (893 fines), 13.36 for littering – rolled up cigarette (220 fines) and only 1.52% for dog fouling (25 fines).

In September WISE came under criticism from a number of councillors  who claimed the majority of its £80 fines were for ​​cigarette butts.

DUP Councillor John McAuley called for a meeting with the litter enforcement company to discuss the enforcement and fines being handed out saying ‘WISE has lost the support of the public’.

The councillor was damning in his assessment of the work being carried out by WISE, raising concerns that the officers are only concentrating on littering of cigarette butts because they are an ‘easy hit’.

The Causeway councillor was particularly annoyed at the way he understood the enforcement officers were going about their duties, describing it as ‘criminal’.

“I’ve had incidents where they are following people and on at least two occasions they have stopped people for dropping cigarette butts, one who hasn’t smoked for 40 years and the other who hasn’t smoked for 70 years,” he said.

“We have lost the support of the public on this matter, they are looking at the streets and still seeing the litter issue, they are looking at the figures and quickly multiplying it by the £80 and they are saying what is going on here?”

The breakdown of fines issued by WISE for the period August 2, 2021 to November 30, 2021 is as follows:

Total of 1,647 fixed penalties

August – 748

September – 507

October – 235

November – 157

Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN’s) issued by offence type:

Littering- cigarette butt – 893 – 54.22%

Littering – rolled up cigarette – 220 – 13.36%

Littering – other litter – 98 – 5.95%

Littering – bottle – 55 – 3.34%

Littering – snack packs – 38 – 2.31%

Littering – confectionary packs – 33 – 2%

Littering – fast food related – 32 -1.94%

Dog fouling – dog fouling – 25 – 1.52%

Fines were also issued for:  Littering-alcoholic drinks – 7; Littering-bottle top – 6; Littering – chewing gum – 29; Littering-food wrapper – 20; Littering-non-alcoholic drinks related – 11; Littering-packaging – 28; Littering – printed literature – 17; Littering – scratch card – 31; Littering – soft drink bottle – 25; Littering – soft drink can – 31 and Littering-sweet wrapper – 25.

The main Fixed Penalty Notices were issued in the following towns/areas:

Coleraine 1,089 –  66.12%

Ballymoney 190 – 11.54%

Portrush 151 – 9.17%

Limavady 148 – 8.99%

The Environmental Services report notes that ‘councillors will now receive ‘regular performance updates on a quarterly basis’ and that ‘Council officers will continue to work with WISE officers targeting litter hotspots and promoting anti-litter initiatives such as the butt ballot boxes, use of litter bins, and the Green Dog Walker scheme’.

Gillian Anderson - Local Democracy Reporter

Written by Gillian Anderson - Local Democracy Reporter

Local Democracy Reporter covering Causeway Coast & Glens and Derry City & Strabane
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