Council counts the cost of litter

Litter louts in Mid and East Antrim cost the ratepayer £2m for street cleansing, councillors have been told, writes Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 7:33 am

The local authority’s Operations Director, Philip Thompson, told a meeting of the Direct Services Committee that this amounts to £35 per head.

Commenting on the latest Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful report, he noted “an overall decline in cleanliness” across the Province.

In Mid and East Antrim, he reported that disposal of PPE gloves and masks has become “a big issue” as well as discarding of cigarette butts.

The local authority is currently trialling a cigarette “ballot bin” at Shaftesbury Park in Carrickfergus and in Cullybackey village, a type of glass fronted ashtray which asks users to chose a slot by answering a question printed on the unit.

Between January and March this year, there were no overflowing bins seen by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful in Mid and East Antrim.

Dog fouling was reported on five streets of 100 streets surveyed.

This compares with 27 between July and September last year and six between October and December.

Mid and East Antrim issued 162 fines for littering last year and three for dog fouling.

Antrim and Newtownabbey issued 94 penalties for littering and eight for dog fouling, Street cleansing cost £37 per person.

Causeway Coast and Glens issued 12 fixed penalties for littering and eight for dog fouling.

Street cleansing in this council area cost £47 per person.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful has recommended that councils in Northern Ireland need a litter strategy which should include education, enforcement and public engagement.

Mr Thompson noted that the council’s new £234,000 cleansing fleet of sweepers funded by DAERA is now in operation.

Last month, an enforcement firm started work on the streets of Mid and East Antrim’s towns with powers to issue fixed penalties for littering and dog fouling with 158 issued during the first month.