Don't let '˜selfish minority' spoil Sunderland: Councillor backs Echo's Clean Streets campaign
Don't let Sunderland be spoiled by a 'selfish minority'.
That’s the call from a senior councillor who has given his backing to the Echo’s “Clean Streets” campaign.
Launched yesterday, we’re calling on everyone who takes pride in their city to play their part in tackling the litter problem that blights our streets and public spaces and help create a smarter Sunderland
The campaign has been endorsed by Coun Robert Oliver, Conservative party leader on Sunderland City Council.
He said: “Litter is the number one complaint by residents in Sunderland, so it must be the number one priority for action.
“It’s a matter of pride for the people of the city that the streets are clean for themselves and for visitors.
“The Echo’s Clean Streets campaign can support responsible residents who dispose of their litter properly and also remind those who don’t that they are making a mess of the place and spoiling it for others.”
Coun Oliver believes that, while there are positive developments across the city, the issue of litter remains a big problem for Sunderland’s image.
He added: “Some things are looking up in Sunderland, but one thing is letting us down: readers may not be surprised that litter has been voted the number one local concern in the Echo readers’ survey.
“More than £1.5billion in investment has come into the city in recent years with major projects such as the New Wear Crossing and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park on track.
“The city centre is also looking up with tentative signs at the Vaux site and a better seafront emerging.
“So litter is becoming more of an issue because of the contrast with the positive developments.
“A quick tour of Sunderland reveals some streets strewn with rubbish; fly-tipped building material left on green spaces and the contents of dust bins all waiting for someone else to pick them up.
“It’s easy to see why people are so bothered. This city belongs to everyone, not just a selfish minority. Most dispose of their litter responsibly, but also have to pay for it to be collected from the few who don’t.
“Council workmen do their best to keep on top of the problem, but it’s an uphill struggle unless something changes in the culture. That can start with community action and council enforcement.
“Many people are already taking action with students, the international community and residents’ associations engaging in community clean ups.
“This shows that most care about where they live.
“Initiatives such as the ‘Love Your Back Lanes’ programme will help, as will other ideas like larger dustbins, a plastic bottles deposit scheme and more cameras. But there is one big thing missing.
“Last year Newcastle City Council issued nearly 3,000 fines for littering compared with just 46 here and it doesn’t take a genius to work out which city is the soft touch and which is cleaner.
“Sunderland should follow the lead of many councils – including Liverpool and Hull – and bring in a private enforcement company to crack down on the litter louts and help local enforcement officers.
“As the council can keep about half the proceeds of fines to re-invest in the environmental budget, this would be a ‘win-win’ situation. The only losers would be those who incur a fine by dirtying our streets.
“By supporting the hard work of the groups already making a difference and by taking the irresponsible to task, Sunderland can make sure that the cleanliness of its streets matches the ambition of the city.”
Sunderland City Council has said that Government cuts in its budget meant it now employs 4,000 fewer staff than it did in 2010, while its grass cutting and street cleansing services which have been cut by £4,829,238 since 2010.