Feb 8 2012 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Wednesday
ALMOST £2 million is spent by Stirling Council on removing litter from the region’s streets every year, according to a report.
The figure was revealed as part of the local authority’s recently-released Community Litter Plan, which is set to run until 2016.
Keys areas the project is designed to focus on are: street cleaning; reducing fly-tipping; improving the enforcement of penalties; enhancing partnerships with other agencies and fostering better communication and education.
The report states: “Stirling Council is committed to creating a litter and fly tipping-free environment. Currently, around 12 tonnes of litter-related material is removed from the streets every day, costing over £1.8 million pounds a year.
“Reducing the amounts of litter can only be done in partnership with the community and other agencies. It should also be recognised that simply cleaning the streets is not enough; education and prevention are vital to achieving a litter-free environment over the longer term.”
The document continues: “The effectiveness of this plan will be measured through improvements in the cleanliness of our streets, verges, shrub beds and other public areas.
“We want people to take pride in their local environment, and take an active role in making this plan a success.”
Praising the document, Riverside Community Council secretary Ann Graham told a recent meeting: “The litter plan contains a lot of useful advice, contact numbers and information on how the council copes with the problem.
“There’s been a lot of talk of events in the pipeline to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in 2014 but what we’ve got to do first of all is present a nice, clean, shiny city – which I don’t think we have at the moment as Stirling certainly isn’t as clean now as it used to be, in my opinion.
“A lot of it comes down to what members of the public do themselves. We’ve talked about doing a community litter pick-up in the Riverside before, maybe we should do it again this year.”
In addition to the litter plan Councillor Jim Thomson, the local authority’s portfolio holder for the environment, said that a group of staff had specifically been tasked with looking into the effectiveness of existing street cleaning facilities.
He continued: “While we recognise there have been improvements in recent years, litter and fly-tipping remain a huge problem for communities.
“The emphasis so far has been on raising awareness and educating people. It has worked to a certain extent with limited success. In future, council resources will be geared towards enforcement.
“Dropping litter is a crime and very few people think there is a chance of getting caught – perhaps high profile enforcement of the laws will make them change their minds?”
Central Scotland Police community officer for Riverside and Springkerse, Matt Riddell, added that police have the power to issue fixed-penalty notices to anyone they see dropping litter and pledged to keep an eye out for anyone deliberately leaving rubbish lying around during his patrols.
Stirling Council can issue a £50 fixed penalty notice to anyone caught committing a littering offence. Dog fouling can result in a £40 fine for the owner, although the fee could rise to £60 if the penalty isn’t paid within 28 days.