Student litterbugs facing fines
Students who litter or make noise face tough new penalties including fines of up to £110, Belfast City Council has warned.
Youths who graffiti and litter gardens and yards face a renewed clampdown as the academic year at Queen`s and the University of Ulster begins later this month. Fresh legislation giving the council more powers came into effect in April.
Areas such as the Holyland in south Belfast where many students live in rented accommodation have been plagued by anti-social behaviour in the past.
Councillor Pat McCarthy said: "This isn't about beating students with a big stick - the majority of students living in Belfast are well-behaved and make a huge contribution to the fabric of our city, but they do need to be aware of the penalties if they flout the law."
Community safety wardens have been deployed in the Holyland area of Belfast from September 9 in the run-up to Freshers Week and will remain in the area once term starts. Litter enforcement officers will also be in the area as well as members of the council's noise team.
To coincide with the university terms beginning, bars and clubs are also being reminded of their legal responsibilities when it comes to leafleting, fly-posting and noise control.
Cllr McCarthy added: "It's our vision for Belfast to become a learning city and to be a vibrant, welcoming city. Every one of us has a responsibility to show consideration to our neighbours and to take a pride in our communities. The Clean Neighbourhoods legislation gives us better powers to try to tackle some of the issues that provoke the most complaints from our ratepayers. As well as the above, council staff will continue to take action on noise and on-street drinking which are also well-documented problems associated with student areas."
While the council has taken steps to tackle fly-posting as part of its entertainments licensing process, anyone caught fly-posting faces an £80 fine.
Entertainment venues can also be prosecuted for noise coming from their premises, if it is in breach of legislation, and any business caught broadcasting illegally in the street could face a fine of £5,000 or a penalty of their licence.
Cllr McCarthy added: "We understand that pubs/clubs see fly-posting as a cheap way of advertising but, apart from it being illegal, it is a blight on our streets and looks unsightly. These new powers will make it easier for councils to hold those responsible to account."