Belfast Telegraph

3,930 litter louts fined as some councils get tougher than others

By Noel McAdam

Almost 4,000 fines were handed out to litter louts across Northern Ireland last year, new figures have shown.

And the statistics come as the on-the-spot penalty is about to increase from £50 to between £75-£80 from next month.

But the chances of being caught vary widely depending on which council area you live in.

The overall level for the fixed penalty notices was 3,930 — with about half of the total handed out in Belfast.

But other cities in the province were way behind, with the Newry area on 167, Lisburn totalling 80 and Derry City Council on just 56.

In Craigavon, however, a no-tolerance policy saw more than 1,000 fines being handed out.

The borough, including Portadown and Lurgan, reached 1, 038 — more than a quarter of the overall figure.

Pat McCarthy, chair of Belfast City Council’s health and environmental services committee, said: “We have a population of 290,000 which nearly doubles every day in life with people coming in to work, and to shop and go to school.

“But a great lot of the problem is cigarette-related, people throwing their fag ends down or even their cigarette packets.”

The council has a special nine-strong task force waging war on the litter bugs and is winning “slowly but surely”, said Mr McCarthy.

The task force includes three litter wardens, who work in the city centre, and six enforcement officers who deal with bigger issues such as fly-tipping, commercial waste and household bins.

“The message has to get through and slowly but surely I think it is, although there are still a lot of people who just think ‘so what?’ and don’t realise what it costs for us to have to clean it up,” the SDLP councillor added.

In Craigavon the funds raised from the fines, some £55,000, has been used to pay for an extra environmental warden and local campaigns against dog fouling and street littering.

Neighbourhood environmental manager Trevor Clydesdale said: “There is no doubt, as surveys show, that this is a province-wide problem but we here in Craigavon have decided to take it head-on. It means people caught dropping litter are not cautioned or given a second chance.”

Penalty notices, area by area

Antrim Borough Council 23

Ards Borough Council 7

Armagh City & District Council 34

Ballymena Borough Council 73

Ballymoney Borough Council 6

Banbridge District Council 11

Belfast City Council 1,995

Carrickfergus Borough Council 16

Castlereagh Borough Council 38

Coleraine Borough Council 53

Cookstown District Council 13

Craigavon Borough Council 1,038

Derry City Council 56

Down District Council 51

Dungannon & South Tyrone 14

Fermanagh District Council 16

Larne Borough Council 73

Limavady Borough Council 6

Lisburn City Council 80

Magherafelt District Council 39

Moyle District Council 7

Newry & Mourne District Council 167

Newtownabbey Borough Council 48

North Down Borough Council 8

Omagh District Council 35

Strabane District Council 23

Total 3,930

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