North East Isn't So Clean; Standards Slipping Says Latest Keep Britain Tidy Study

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson

THE North East is getting dirtier, according to new figures. The results of Keep Britain Tidy's annual survey showed that cleanliness standards in the North East slipped by 6% over the previous year. This was the largest drop in any region of the country. Standards fell for litter, detritus, leaf fall, weed growth and staining. Overall standards for litter are now unsatisfactory, the study claims.

Keep Britain Tidy undertakes the report on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Studies were carried out by trained surveyors between April 2008 and March 2009.

Local authorities were assessed on a range of environmental problems including litter, detritus, fly-posting, graffiti, staining and weed growth, as well as infrastructure such as litter bins.

Smokers' litter remains the most prevalent item, and was present on 76% of all sites visited, followed by confectionery packaging on 64% of sites, non-alcoholic drinks at 51% and fast food-related rubbish at 21%.

Dog fouling increased by two points to 8%. The study found a recent phenomenon has been bagged dog waste left either on the ground or hanging in trees and bushes. It appears that although the message about clearing up dog mess is having a significant impact, if there isn't a dog waste bin to hand, people are discarding the waste rather than taking it home.

"Litter is not just something that looks terrible. There is also a financial cost - our messy ways cost the taxpayer nearly pounds 800m nationally a year to clean up," said Phil Barton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy.

"Streets which appear to be uncared for adversely impact on our quality of life. The challenge is to reach the minority of people who continue to blight our streets."

Mr Barton said a recent vehicle litter campaign led to almost 8,000 car litter louts being reported by members of the public. The study says priorities for action are: Retail and commercial areas where staining, especially from chewing gum, is a significant problem Bus stops, where both physical condition and cleanliness standards, especially for staining and graffiti, represent a poor advertisement for an area Thinking about removing inappropriate landscaping if it is not going to be maintained properly Improving the cleanliness and condition of litter bins. …

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