Call for penalty points to deter offenders -Towns and cities let down by approach roads spoiled with litter from cars Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) has called for the introduction of penalty points for incidences of ‘car littering’ in Ireland as they are defacing otherwise clean towns and cities. The latest IBAL litter survey shows a large number of areas let down by the state of their approach roads, ringroads and roundabouts where litter is caused by passing cars and trucks. IBAL has called on the Government to consider extending penalty points to this offence. The survey of 50 towns and cities around Ireland, carried out by An Taisce, showed Newbridge and Navan as the only towns in the country to be brandished as ‘litter blackspots’, the latter for the third survey in succession. Carlow, placed top in the league, was one of 18 areas deemed as “Litter Free”. For towns like Killarney, Athlone, Cork City, Limerick City and Nenagh, it was litter on approach roads that brought down their overall rankings in this round of the anti -litter league. ‘In many cases, the town councils and city councils are doing their bit in keeping the streets free of litter,” remarked Dr Tom Cavanagh of IBAL. ‘However, they are being frustrated in their efforts for a clean environment by litter on approach roads. These are the responsibility of the county councils.” “The impression of a town is coloured hugely by what ones encounters on approaching it. For this reason we need to find ways of targeting those who dump or litter from their vehicles. Issuing one penalty point per litter offence is one suggestion. Another is to build lay-bys on our motorways equipped with suitable litter bins to facilitate truck drivers who often have their meals on the go, resulting in an accumulation of litter. These facilities are seriously lacking.” The IBAL survey revealed litter levels have improved by 2% over the same time last year, which was itself, a spectacular improvement on the previous period. The average cleanliness rating is now 75 points, within sight of the 80-point mark, which is deemed ‘clean to European norms.’ “There is no doubt that our cleanliness levels are continuing to rise,” continued Dr Cavanagh. “To sustain this progress, County Councils, whose remit it is to keep the areas outside the towns clean, will have to take litter seriously, not least on approach roads. IBAL will be monitoring these roads more and more in future surveys.” IBAL has warned that the peak summer season is a critical time for areas to show their best side to visitors. Fáilte Ireland reports that the majority of tourists to the green island find it less clean than they expected. Fáilte Ireland’s Tourism Matters publication suggests that over a quarter of tourists to Ireland surveyed had experienced littering or dumping in the countryside. German holidaymakers are least likely to agree that Irish streets are cleaner than streets in their own country “This is simply not a basis to build future tourism on” added Mr Cavanagh. Dublin City has been omitted from the Litter League in 2007, but will be compared against other cities in a European League to be published later this year.