Council ‘aims to restore sense of pride’ in environment

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Larne Council has pledged to continue to keep the pressure on those who flout the litter laws and dog control orders to help restore a sense of pride back into the local environment.

Since February of this year, 21 fixed penalty fines (£80) have been issued in relation to dog fouling, littering and the newly-introduced dog control orders in response to a call for urgent action to deal with the issue in a robust manner.

In January, the council debated a motion calling for a review of enforcement action and demanding that the issue of dog fouling and littering is firmly dealt with.

In response, a team of officers from across the Council have been taking forward a number of initiatives to ensure a cohesive, coordinated and robust programme of action is in place in relation to education, enforcement and street cleansing.

Of the fixed penalties issued, eight were for dog fouling, 10 for littering, two for walking a dog off-lead in a council owned-cemetery and one for walking a dog on council-owned playing fields.

Under recently-introducedby-laws, dogs are excluded from all play parks and playing pitches to ensure the safety of users. The fixed penalties have been issued right across the borough for offences detected in Carnlough, Millbrook, Larne, Islandmagee and Glynn.

Larne Council has also issued four Article 20 notices to the registered owner of a vehicle, demanding confirmation of the names and addresses of the driver and occupants, who have been observed discarding litter from vehicles. Persons issued with such a notice commit an offence when this information is not supplied. On the receipt of this information, the council will issue a fixed penalty to the identified person.

When fixed penalties are not paid, the matter is progressed to court and recently in Ballymena Magistrate’s Court a Larne resident was fined £100 and ordered to pay £116 costs for non-payment of an £80 fixed penalty issued for littering, and another Larne resident was fined £200 and ordered to pay £116 costs for non-payment of a fixed penalty issued for the same offence.

Philip Thompson, director of environmental services, said: “Council officers are determined to tackle this issue following the motion introduced by Council and by the demand from responsible dog owners and those with a sense of civic pride who wish to see dog fouling and littering stamped out.

“Officers are currently reviewing our education programme and combined with engaging with communities and individuals to promote clean-ups and completing a deep clean of Larne town centre, we wish to restore a sense of pride back into our environment. Council, and indeed ratepayers, can no longer afford to spend close on £500,000 each year to clean up after a minority of irresponsible individuals.”