MIDDLEWICH is entering its cleanest year yet, claim campaigners after figures show huge falls in cigarette butt litter in the town. 

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) joined forces with the Middlewich Clean Team last February and installed 32 cigarette butt bins around the town.

The bins were installed at 16 different venues in the town centre including various pubs and clubs as well as the town hall. 

Since then, the amount of cigarette litter has notably decreased and now almost a year on, figures show a reduction of 71 per cent from when the bins were installed.

Stephen Dent, vice chairman of the Middlewich Clean Team, said: “This result is much better than anticipated and heralds the way for similar projects to take place up and down the UK. 

“The Clean Team is used to working in partnership with other organisations but the team work with CPRE, JTI, and Middlewich Pubwatch has been exceptional and has produced outstanding results.” 

The figures come from Keep Britain Tidy, who are commissioned to monitor the progress of the project.

The last update came a month after the installation and showed a 56 per cent reduction in cigarette butt litter.

However the figure has continued to fall and campaigners say the reaction of Middlewich residents has been inspiring.

Samantha Harding, Stop the Drop campaign manager at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “This is precisely the result we hoped to see. People often respond well to new things but to see Middlewich’s residents reducing cigarette litter even further during 2014 is really inspiring. All I can say is please keep up the good work.”