Sweeper plan is scrapped

Sweeper plan is scrapped

14 August 2013

A PROPOSAL to spread Down Council’s existing litter pickers into the district’s smaller towns has been rejected by politicians.

Councillors expressed concern that the service would be spread too thinly, and instead are pursuing the hire of an additional Solo Sweeper.

At a committee meeting last Tuesday councillors considered a number of options for improving the service after receiving increasing numbers of complaints from constituents.

Solo Sweepers, who manually lift litter, currently operate in Downpatrick, Newcastle, Ballynahinch, Killyleagh, Ardglass and Castlewellan. Dundrum, Killough, Saintfield and Clough were the additional areas up for consideration at Tuesday’ meeting.

The council’s Cleansing department had recommended a three month trial of extending its service into these smaller towns and villages but acknowledged it could result in complaints from the larger towns.

Councillor Walter Lyons was among those who rejected the idea.

“The big picture is we don’t have enough resources,” he said. “We keep things the same or we get the resources from somewhere. If that standard s it is only going to give grief to other people.”

Councillor Carmel O’Boyle predicted “complaints across the district” and said there was little point in a three month trial.

Councillor Billy Walker said the council needed to introduce a scheme in which the long-term unemployed helped with the litter problem in the district. He later said he planned to bring this as a proposal to Down Council.

Councillor Eamonn O’Neill asked for a proposal to be brought back to council on the Solo Sweeper hire. This is to be discussed at the next full meeting of Down Council.