Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)
£100k plan to crackdown on litter louts in Antrim & Newtownabbey
Almost £100k is to be spent by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in a bid to crack down on litter louts and irresponsible dog owners.
The local authority has revealed a series of pilot schemes to be introduced next year in an attempt to get to grips with on-street waste including dog fouling, cigarette butts, fast food waste, drinks cups and fly-tipping.
Fourteen solar-powered compacting bins will be placed in “high use areas” including lough shore parks in Jordanstown and Antrim, Threemilewater and Macedon in Newtownabbey at a cost of £80k. Almost half the cost will be funded by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
Bin sensors will be placed at 50 locations across the borough to alert crews when bins are reaching capacity so they can be emptied in a bid to prevent overflowing bins.
To tackle dog fouling, residents will be encouraged to report owners who do not clean up after their pets.
A ‘Dog Watch’ scheme is designed to encourage individuals to report offending dog owners in residential areas and council parks. Signs will provide details of how to report offenders.
A dedicated litter team will be in operation in Rathcoole/Mossley areas of Newtownabbey for a five-week trial period. These districts were selected, the council said, due to a “significant number” of complaints.
A council employee will be tasked to a certain area and will be responsible for the cleanliness in the area to promote consistency of service.
Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful says that litter louts cost each Antrim and Newtownabbey ratepayer £37 for street cleaning.
In its annual Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report, the environmental organisation stated that 94 fixed penalties were issued by the local authority for littering and eight for dog fouling in the borough during 2018/19.
Glengormley DUP Councillor Alison Bennington who is a member of the council’s Operations Committee, urged residents to have a “sense of civic responsibility” and clean up after their dogs and lift their litter.
The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr Billy Webb, has said previously:
“More than £2m is spent every year keeping our streets across the borough clean and we are continuously pro-active in trying to reduce the impact of litter, but it still continues to be a challenge.”