1,500 waste bins but littering remains a ‘challenge’ in Antrim and Newtownabbey
Littering continues to be “a challenge in Antrim and Newtownabbey” despite the provision of 1,500 waste bins, councillors have been told.
A report to the council’s Operations Committee stated that this has been “exacerbated by the Covid pandemic” with the most complaints received about dog fouling, fast food/beverage litter from pedestrians and vehicles, fly-tipping and cigarette litter.
In response, a litter action plan is being proposed through an “anti-litter campaign”.
A workshop is being planned for councillors to consider best practice in tackling the problem across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Last week, enforcement officers from a private firm started work in Mid and East Antrim to clampdown on offenders. Anyone observed failing to pick up after their dogs or dropping litter will be issued with an on the spot £80 Fixed Penalty Notice.
A report presented to Antrim and Newtownabbey’s Operations Committee says: “The issue of litter is one which is very important to residents being frequently reported to members and has been included in the Corporate Improvement Plan” which pledges to “improve the level of cleanliness in the borough”.
Currently, litter louts and dog owners who allow their pets to foul streets and parks in Antrim and Newtownabbey can be identified through an arrangement with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVA). A contract exists between the local authority and the DVA to assist with the enforcement of legislation such as littering and dog fouling.
This is aided through identification of the registered owner of a vehicle, if an offender is witnessed returning to a car, for example.
The Operations Committee heard previously that the council was considering the appointment of additional enforcement officers to clamp down on dog fouling and had been asked to review the number of wardens employed across the borough.
The cost of a fixed penalty for littering or dog fouling is £80 rising to a fine of up to £1,000 if prosecuted.
Nine fixed penalty notices for dog fouling were issued by Antrim and Newtownabbey during 2019/20.
DAERA is currently reviewing the levels of fines which can be issued by local councils and is also consulting with councils on commencing powers under the Waste and Contaminated Land (NI) Act 2011 which will, if carried through, enhance local authority powers and penalties in relation to illegal waste.
South Antrim Alliance MLA John Blair, the party’s environmental spokesperson has called on DAERA to review fixed penalty fines available to councils in order to crackdown on offenders.
At present, illegal dumping can result in a £2,500 fine.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter
Click here to read: County Antrim Harriers show litter louts a clean pair of heels
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