Since the introduction of a private enforcement firm to tackle littering in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area over 4,000 fines have been issued.
A record number of £80 fixed penalty notices – 4,058 in total – has been handed out in just past seven months by WISE Environmental Enforcement Officers who patrol the borough seven days a week in search of people who do not dispose of litter and smoking materials responsibly.
The sum – if all penalties are paid – would equate to more than £320,000 in revenue, however, it is not clear if Council actually receive any income from the partnership.
Nonetheless, Council says its “tough stance on tackling the growing litter problem has proven highly effective” since teaming up with WISE.
Where an offence has been committed and a fixed penalty issued but not paid, Council are taking legal proceedings against the alleged offenders.
A Lurgan resident, who was caught dropping a cigarette butt at Hill Street in the town, was ordered by Craigavon Magistrates’ Court last week to pay a £180 fine including costs for the offence.
Council say further cases relating to littering will be brought before the courts in the coming months.
However, only last month, concerns over the tactics deployed by WISE were raised by councillors sitting on the Council’s Environment Committee.
Figures available at the time – May 17 to October 31 – showed that a total of 3,035 fixed penalty notices were issued but less than 2% of those were for dog fouling.
The statistics produced by the report show that Portadown was far and away the area where the most fixed penalty notices were issued with 1,327 or 43.72 per cent of all fixed penalty notices issued in the town.
By comparison 580 (19.11 per cent) of the fines were issued in Armagh, 545 fines (17.96 per cent) were issued in Craigavon, 282 fines (9.29 per cent were issued in Lurgan and 122 fines (4.02 per cent) were issued in Banbridge.