Environmental health officers would have more time to patrol public areas if the owners of private car parks policed littering offences themselves.
That’s the claim Banbridge councillor, Alderman Ian Burns has made this week.
Referring specifically to privately owned shopping centre car parks, such as the Outlet, Banbridge, Alderman Burns said he feels it should not be up to the council to police the offence of litter-dropping in these places.
While it is the duty of owners of private car parks to keep their own property clean, director of environmental services for Craigavon, Ms L Crawford, pointed out that as these areas are used by the public, the council could police them for littering offences.
“I’ve been told our environmental health officers have a duty to police anywhere used by the public, but we will be looking further into this legislation,” said Alderman Burns.
At the Environmental Services Committee meeting on May 5, the Alderman had enquired if the Litter (Northern Ireland) Order included littering on private property, and specifically where it stated on signage that it was a private car park.
He was informed that under the wording of the order it is an offence to throw litter in any place ‘open to the air’, meaning it is indeed a duty of the council to patrol areas such as these.
“I personally belive we should be making the people who own these car parks keep their own area clean.
“Our environmental health officers spend time policing these areas and giving out a fixed penalty notice to anyone who anyone found dropping litter there.”
Stating that there is not a big problem with litter at the Outlet, Alderman Burns continued: “That is not so much the issue here - the issue is more that our officers are patrolling these areas and giving fixed penalty notices out when we shouldn’t have to be policing private property, but instead we could be covering public places.”
Alderman Burn’s will be looking into the issue.