Belfast Telegraph

Plans will clean up local environment

East Belfast residents are set to have their say on proposed plans to improve the local environment.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots has launched a consultation on a draft Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill.

The move comes five years after similar legislation was introduced in England and Wales and is set to target issues such as litter, abandoned vehicles and dog fouling.

The proposed Bill contains provisions designed to improve the quality of the local environment by giving district councils additional powers.

These powers will also enable them to deal more effectively with nuisance alleys, fly-posting and graffiti, noise and other nuisance problems.

And the plans have been welcomed by the Connswater Community Greenway (CCG) team.

Speaking for the local environmental project, Sean Brannigan, community engagement officer, said the move would “provide further protection for valuable assets”.

He added: “The Connswater Community Greenway is a transformational project that focuses on our rivers and green spaces in east Belfast, creating a linear park that is attractive, safe and welcoming to everyone, whilst also significantly improving the environment in both our rivers and parks.

“We would therefore welcome any changes to legislation that would support cleaner rivers and green spaces and provide further protection for valuable assets such as our rivers, watercourses and parks.

“We are delighted to see within Minister Poots proposals increased powers for protection of our rivers, in particular given the investment we are about to make in relation to the remediation of the Connswater, Knock and Loop rivers through the CCG”

The proposed plans have also been welcomed by local representatives.

Belfast Lord Mayor, Victoria representative Naomi Long MLA, said the plans could “maximise the potential of our parks and green spaces”.

She added: “These plans will give local government staff the power to help tackle quality of life issues, such as littering and fly posting, and improve the cleanliness of our streets and neighbourhoods.”

Robin Newton MLA said the plans would be “welcomed by all who have a pride in their community”.

“The introduction of this bill mirrors popular and successful legislation already in existence in Great Britain,” he said.

“I would encourage all residents and community groups to engage in this important consultation phase.”

The consultation will run until April 23.

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