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Funding approved for additional solar bins across Antrim and Newtownabbey

Newly-installed water fountains at beauty spots in Antrim and Newtownabbey have saved 2,000 plastic bottles from being dumped, councillors have been told.

A report presented to the borough council’s Operations Committee on Tuesday evening estimated the reduction during the first four weeks of installation.

The water fountains were installed at Antrim and Jordanstown Loughshore Parks in March.

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At the meeting, councillors approved £40,000 match funding for the purchase of an additional 14 solar bins and four water fountains in line with the council’s Litter Action Plan.

Littering continues to be a challenge across the borough.

Councillors have already been told that littering continues to be “a challenge in Antrim and Newtownabbey” despite the provision of 1,500 waste bins across the borough.

Antrim Ulster Unionist Councillor Jim Montgomery proposed that the council accepts the officers’ recommendation to give approval for match funding of £40,000 for an application to “Live Here Love Here’s” Marine Litter Capital Grant Scheme for water fountains and solar bins, seconded by Antrim Alliance Councillor Neil Kelly.

The additional solar-powered compacting bins will be placed in the lough shore parks and Hazelbank in Newtownabbey.

Meanwhile, bin sensors are to be placed at 50 locations across the borough to alert crews when bins are reaching capacity so they can be emptied in a bid to prevent overflowing bins. Council staff are notified by an app when the bins need emptied.

To tackle dog fouling, residents will be encouraged to report owners who do not clean up after their pets.

A ‘Dog Watch’ scheme is being designed to encourage individuals to report offending dog owners  in residential areas and council parks. Signs will provide details of how to report offenders.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful says that litter louts cost each Antrim and Newtownabbey ratepayer £37 for street cleaning.

In its annual Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report, the environmental organisation stated that 94 fixed penalties were issued by the local authority for littering and eight for dog fouling in the borough during 2018/19.

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb, has said previously: “More than £2m is spent every year keeping our streets across the borough clean and we are continuously pro-active in trying to reduce the impact of litter, but it still continues to be a challenge. ”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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