£4.2m spent on cleaning districtís streets

Thursday, 18 May 2017

DERRY City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) spent a staggering £4.2 million on street cleaning and litter picking in 2015/2016 - the second highest spend of any local authority in Northern Ireland - prompting one local councillor to urge people to "clean up after themselves".

According to the council's financial statements - which are available on its website - a total of £4,191,244 in ratepayers money was spent on dealing with fly-tipping, lifting litter, chewing gum, cigarettes and dog fouling from roads, streets and open spaces throughout the city and district.

On average, this equates to a bill of £28.20 per ratepayer. The spend places the council second only to Belfast City Council when compared with all the 11 local authority arrangements. The council however says the high figure "reflects the size and nature of the district".

Belfast spent £16,447,588 whilst neighbouring Fermanagh and Omagh District Council spent over a third of Derry and Strabane's figure with their bill coming in at £1,787,916. It is also the lowest of the surveyed councils.

The figures for the 2016/17 year are not yet available. In total, over £43 million was spent by all councils - an eight per cent increase on the previous year.

DCSDC issued 187 fixed penalty notices for litter offences between August and October last year. The statistics were gathered by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful (KNIB) who say the figures show how hard councils have to work to keep their respective areas clean.

The charity's 'National Benchmarking Report' was brought before local councillors at a meeting of the council's Environment & Regeneration Committee in Strabane last week.

The spend by the local council has been described as "shocking" by one elected representative who is now urging people to dispose of their waste properly.

Independent councillor, Patsy Kelly, said: "Littering is a major issue. We have to get out of this culture of just dumping and throwing rubbish. When I'm travelling about, I see it regularly especially when people are dumping rubbish like bottles and takeaway wrappers etc out of their car windows.

"It's not acceptable. We live in this town so we should all keep it clean and presentable especially for our visitors and tourists coming in. Impressions last and we would like to create a good impression of Strabane.

"It is shocking to hear that we are the second highest within Northern Ireland for money being spent on street cleansing. The kids are being well educated in primary schools. It's not them who is doing it. It's the adults who have to follow the example of the children.

"Dog fouling is another big issue. Too many people are still allowing their dogs to foul on our footpaths. I'd urge everyone to keep the town clean, tidy and respectable for everybody. If we all do our bit, a little bit will go a long way."


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