THE Chair of Craigavon Council’s Environmental Services Committee Cllr Johnny McGibbon has welcomed new powers to be given to Councils in respect of litter.
The Councillor made his comments after a TidyNI survey found streets Northern Ireland are dirtier than at any time in the past four years.
The Sinn Féin Councillor said: “The results of this survey are disappointing and particularly so following the amount of publicity that has been given to this subject.
“There is a responsibility on all of us to keep our streets clean and the vast majority of people, particularly the younger generations, are litter conscious and play their part in keeping Craigavon tidy.”
The Environmental Services Chairperson pointed out that Council has existing powers to censure litter louts and these powers as well as the levels of fines would be increased by the Clean Neighbourhood Act which comes into force in April 2012.
He said: “Councils would prefer to deal with the problem of littering by making the public aware of the cost to the ratepayer and the environmental damage the problem causes.
“Unfortunately the TidyNI survey indicates that a considerable number of people are immune to persuasion and this leaves no option but enforcement of littering laws.”
Councillor McGibbon asserted that the new Act, of itself, would be ineffective unless enforced and he said: “The key to clean neighbourhoods lies in effective enforcement, and higher fines will only be a deterrent if Council uses their powers. The levels of dog fouling and litter on some streets within the Borough are a disgrace and it is clear that existing powers have been underused or at best enforced in the wrong areas.
“The executive have set a challenge for local councils in the new legislation and I will be pushing to ensure that Craigavon Council is up for that challenge.”