Calls to tackle unacceptable rural road litter

Results from an environmental charity report have shown that nearly half of rural roads surveyed across the country carry an amount of litter that exceeds the acceptable standard.

By Graeme Cousins
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 6:21 pm

Takeaway packaging was the most common form of litter from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’s Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report which surveyed 100 rural roads during the summer. It representing 36% of the total litter.

After publishing the results of the survey Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’s community-based campaign, Live Here Love Here, and DAERA are calling on people to consider the impact of, and refrain from littering in rural areas.

Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said: “Our most recent Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report has shown that rural areas are disproportionately affected by litter when compared to residential, recreational and primary retail areas.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful CEO Dr Ian Humphreys with litter-loathing puppet Al

“Rural litter is particularly hazardous, seriously impacting upon our environment and economy. Tourism currently represents a considerable percentage of Northern Ireland’s GDP, but unsightly rural roads and hedgerows are unlikely to inspire a return trip and can damage the perception of our region.”

David Brown, Deputy President of Ulster Farmers’ Union said illegal dumping is an increasing issue in rural areas: “Fly-tipping is a scourge on the countryside and one that too many of our farmers have experienced first-hand. Dumping unwanted waste in rural areas is dangerous to human health and harmful to livestock and wildlife. In the past, there have been issues where fly-tipping waste polluted watercourses and contaminated land.

“When unwanted content is dumped on a farmer’s land, it becomes the responsibility of the landowner to dispose of, while local councils are left to take ownership of waste on public land and highways. This is both costly and time consuming for farmers and ratepayers.

“Since the pandemic began, the amount of litter being dumped on farmers’ land has increased, with many rediscovering the outdoors for recreation. I urge all countryside visitors to be more considerate of those living locally, and of animals and to commit to taking their waste home with them.”

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