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