Litter louts blitzed

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More litter fines have been handed out in Derry in the last ten weeks than were issued in two of the last three years, the ‘Journal’ can reveal.

Derry City Council last night confirmed 44 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) have been issued since the start of October as part of a pre City of Culture year litter blitz.

In the entire 2011/12 financial year only 41 FPN were handed out in Derry, while only 19 were issued in 2009/10.

The crackdown on litter louts started in June when wardens were appointed to patrol the city, initially deployed in an advisory role to highlight litter offences to the public.

But a Derry City Council spokeswoman said that since October those wardens have “moved to enforcing the provisions of the regulations and have been issuing Fixed Penalty Notices to those committing littering offences. “

“The wardens exercise discretion in all instances taking into account the specific circumstances that gave rise to the offence,” the spokeswoman says.

“As part of the Council’s initiative to reduce the level of litter on the streets, it has erected over 50 mounted advisory signs and notices across the city, advising them of the presence of litter wardens and the consequences of their actions if they drop litter – the maximum penalty being £75.”

One man who contacted the ‘Journal’ branded the £50 fine issued to him for dropping a cigarette butt “a disgrace.”

The Council spokeswoman said the local authority spends in the region of £1.6 million per year on street cleansing and indiscriminate dumping.

She said the litter wardens are part of the Council’s “long term commitment to proactively improve the cleanliness of the City and region as we prepare for 2013 and City of Culture.”