Pub owners who fail to clean up piles of fag ends left outside their premises may be forced to do so in future if they want to keep their alcohol licence. The smokers are also to be targeted with £50 fixed penalty fines for littering as part of a get-tough on the mess caused by their addiction.
The quantity of fag ends discarded in the centre of Lerwick has been blamed for dragging down Shetland’s image, causing Shetland Islands Council to drop out of the top three in the table of Scotland’s cleanest local authorities last year.
The council’s environment and building services is aiming to get back into the top three and has a campaign planned over the summer to get people to clean up their act. The service is also facing the threat of cuts to the amount of street cleaning in the years to come to save money.
The possibility of tightening up publicans’ licensing conditions came up after councillor Rick Nickerson expressed mild concern about the lapse in standards during today’s meeting of the new environment and transport committee.
Councillor Caroline Miller was much more animated. She said the streets were an absolute mess because of people dropping fag ends everywhere and she wanted fines imposed on the culprits. “Folk have got to start taking responsibility for their own actions,” she said. “It’s against the law and it’s not acceptable.”
As part of efforts to improve the down-at-heel appearance of the town centre the council is planning to blitz the chewing gum which is stuck all over the streets before the middle of next month when thousands of visitors arrive for the Tall Ships’ Race. But head of environment and building services Stephen Cooper warned it was not easy keeping down on the problem: “It’s a bit like painting the Forth Road Bridge!”