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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 17:57 GMT
Tidy group steps up campaign
Full litter bin
People who fail to use bins are being fined
The battle to tidy up the streets of Wales is being revisited in earnest, as anti-litter campaigners join councils in a push to beat the menace.

The Keep Wales Tidy campaign was launched in the 1970s to educate young and old about the rights and wrongs of littering.

Rat and takeaway
Rats on the streets are a concern

Now the group is responding to growing concerns that tourists are not prepared to return to dirty towns and cities, effectively harming the tourism industry in Wales.

And residents and businesses across Wales, fed up with post weekend scenes of streets awash with litter - encouraging rats and disease - are demanding tougher action against offenders.

Each year, the Keep Wales Tidy campaign has staged publicity drives to clean up the streets and rivers of Wales.

The organisation was busy devising new strategies at its anniversary conference in Cardiff on Tuesday to deliver its message.

Councils across Wales are also picking up on the direct demands for tougher, more direct action against persistent offenders.


I certainly don't, even today, empty out my car on the main road

Phil Robinson, Cardiff council

Cardiff county council has started a "zero tolerance" policy, with the launch of a litter squad.

And motorists tossing litter out of their car windows will be fined 25 for their anti-social actions and given 14 days to pay.

Carmarthen council is taking tough action as well in a bid to rid the west Wales town of litter.

Environment officers will be using the town's CCTV surveillance system to pinpoint litterbugs, while residents and businesses will be warned the worst offenders will face fines of up to 20,000 and jail terms of three months if they are caught and prosecuted.

Litter bin
Education is the best way, says the campaign group

The get tough policy is a direct response to a deluge of complaints from businesses, tourists and residents.

Environment officers at Carmarthenshire County Council are getting tough after being inundated with complaints from traders, residents and visitors.

The town centre has become an eyesore and black spots such as King Street, St Catherine Street and Priory Street will be targeted in a blitz by the council and Environment Agency.

Phil Robinson, a Cardiff Council cabinet member for the environment, said the image of the capital being dirtier than elsewhere was misleading.

"My experience is Cardiff is no worse than most large cities in the UK, perceptions are generally based on where you live," he said.


We believe landfill charges have encouraged fly-tipping and we are working with Cardiff council to combat that

Bob Gilchrist, Keep Wales Tidy Campaign

"When most of us travel abroad, we tend to go to the clean tourist areas. Once you live the centre of Barcelona, the problem of litter is as bad as anywhere."

He added: "I was taught as a child that I should carry litter round with me if there was no bin to put it in and I certainly don't, even today, empty out my car on the main road."

Bob Gilchrist, director of Keep Wales Tidy, praised recent initiatives to beat the menace of litter.

"There is a huge spur on the horizon, with a new waste strategy focusing on litter and fly-tipping, the only place in the UK with such a policy, it is wonderful to see new resources going into this for the first time in 10 years."

He added: "We believe landfill charges have encouraged fly-tipping and we are working with Cardiff council to combat that.

"We must have the laws enforced and the resources for litter and dog wardens and tougher penalties. We must have the balance between education and enforcement."

Mr Gilchrist added that some parents were worse litter menaces than their own children.

See also:

08 Nov 02 | Wales
01 Nov 02 | Politics
25 Oct 02 | Wales
19 Jul 02 | England
30 Sep 02 | Breakfast
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