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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 September 2006, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Council to bin its litter patrols
litter bin
The council says it wants to tackle litter problems in its towns
A Scottish local authority is halting its street sweeping service in what has been billed as a shock approach to tackling litter problems.

Over the next few months, East Lothian Council will withdraw the service from a number of town centres.

The first stage of the East Lothian Litter Initiative will take place in Tranent town centre on Saturday.

Councillor Willie Innes said Tranent traders had been informed of the "shock approach" being taken.

The community services spokesman added that it was hoped shopkeepers would co-operate in the venture and "look after their own small sections of pavement".

We've launched this approach to shock some offenders into realising just how much of a problem they cause
Councillor Willie Innes

Councillor Innes said: "East Lothian offers a great quality of life to its residents and the council wants to ensure the public appreciate just how much effort is put into maintaining that quality and how every individual can play their part."

For the first week, sweeping staff in Tranent will limit their jobs to emptying bins, clearing broken glass and removing other dangerous items.

At the end of that week it is hoped that a Tranent & Elphinstone Community Council-led litter picking exercise will take place.

The following week will see a high volume of litter warden patrols at lunchtimes, with various activities designed to enforce litter legislation.

Additional bins may be placed in the town centre during the week if it is found the public respond to the initiative positively.

False view

The council said it intends to roll this initiative out across the other main towns and to "draw on community spirit to beat the menace of litter".

It insisted the move had nothing to do with cutting costs or staff shortages.

The council believes it is an innovative way of getting the message over to the public about the scale of street littering.

Councillor Innes said: "The vast majority of the public aren't aware of the sheer volume of litter collected by the council every day.

"Most high streets are cleaned so regularly, even at the weekends, that people have a false sense of the litter problem.

"We've launched this approach to shock some offenders into realising just how much of a problem they cause and to let the general public see how much of their money is wasted on other people's litter."

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