COUNCILLOR Colin McGrath has called on Down District Council officials to draw up a plan to deliver more litter bins in the district.
The SDLP’ Councillor said, “At Council we continue to be plagued by the issue of litter strewn across the streets, parks and estates of our District but a quick look around may indicate the issue – the lack of litter bins.
“It is the responsibility of Council to provide litter bins and as such I would expect us to endorse having the bins in every estate and along town roads and streets.
“The centre of Downpatrick is a particular example where you can walk hundreds of yards before you encounter a bin. We cannot accuse people of littering if we haven’t first provided ready access to litter bins for people to put their rubbish in.
“I have raised this matter with the Chief Executive of Council and the Director of Environmental Services. I hope to see lots of bins soon and people using them.
“Only at that stage can we accuse people of littering for at that point they will have no excuse.”
In response to Cllr McGrath’s call, a Council spokesperson said, “Down District Council has around 800 litter and dog fouling bins that are serviced across the district on a regular basis. The litter bin purchase budget and general cleansing budget was cut this year, to facilitate the zero percent increase in the rates. The present litter bin budget is being used to repair and replace litter bins and has little scope to allow for an increase in litter bin location points.
“It is anticipated that Down District Council will spend around £680,000 on providing cleansing services across the district. This is a reduction compared to the previous year and was achieved by reviewing the service and making it more efficient. While keeping the service efficient the Council is working on developing the solo sweeper type service within certain towns.
“The Council would ask members of the public to do their bit in keeping the district clean by using the litter and dog fouling bins provided or bring their litter home and dispose of it in their black bin. The public should also be aware they can receive a fifty pound penalty notice for dropping litter, even for small items such as cigarette butts.
“In relation to the refuse collection budget, it is similar to the cleansing budget, in that it was cut to facilitate the zero increase in rates.”