A scheme to generate and renew civic pride with a council wide initiative to clean up the streets and roads of the area is to be developed for later in the year (Covid-19 permitting) following the discussion of a motion at the Neighbourhood Services Committee of Newry, Mourne and Down Council

The 'Big District Clean Up' Motion received from Councillor Jarlath Tinnelly noted the marked increase in the amount of rubbish discarded throughout the area and suggested a district wide clean up involving as many community groups, schools and residents as possible with Council to coordinate.

Councillor Tinnelly spoke of his appreciation of the work done by Council cleansing staff on a daily basis as well as of the work done by community groups in organising litter picks.

Litter on the Upper Damolly Road in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Litter on the Upper Damolly Road in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

It was noted by Crotlieve Councillor, Cllr Karen McKevitt  that the provision of litter pickers and bags etc to community groups was suspended due to Covid restrictions but officials added that it would restart once restrictions eased.

"Over the last 12 months people have begun to take a look around themselves of what we have in our area and nobody more than myself have noticed that we do have extra rubbish along our laneways and roadways rural and in our villages." added Cllr McKevitt.

Also speaking in support of the Motion Newry City Councillor, Cllr Gary Stokes said "People are out walking more and seeing the rubbish and it's so irritating for people." while Slieve Gullion Councillor, Cllr David Taylor added "It encourages community buy in in terms of looking after your local environment, looking after the district that you live in but it also highlights the problem that exists."No matter where you go now the amount of rubbish you see on sides of roads is depressing actually, how bad it is."

Cllr Gavin Malone thought education was vital and suggested the need for hidden cameras and more Litter Wardens "We do have a serious problem in the district and hopefully in the longer term we are going to look at hidden cameras and more Litter Wardens because we've a serious problem and it needs to be dealt with more robustly."

Councillor Willie Clarke asked for a slight amendment to additionally invite Council partners such as DFI Roads, NIHE, Forestry etc to get involved and this was agreed.

Motion - The Big District Clean Up

“Throughout the Covid pandemic, many residents of and visitors to our district have taken the opportunity to exercise in the parks, rural roads & pathways of our towns & villages to help their physical and mental wellbeing and in so doing, many have found a renewed sense and awareness of the stunning beauty of our district. Regrettably, this increased volume of cyclists and walkers has also lead to a marked increase in the amount of rubbish that is discarded along those very roads and pathways. To that end Newry Mourne & Down Council will organise and supervise a district wide ‘Big Spring Clean Up’, particularly on our rural roads on a chosen Saturday morning this coming Springtime, delivered through the respective DEA’s and involving as many community groups, schools and residents of our district as possible, public health advice permitting.

Councils role will be to coordinate what is happening within each DEA and to provide logistical support like litter pickers, bags, hi-vis vests, rubbish collection points etc; on request, and to engage external groups who may wish to partner us in this project. If successful, this initiative will then become an annual event for our Council to lead, in this time of increased environmental awareness”.

The Neighbourhood Services minutes will be ratified at the March Council meeting.

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