Bray regains ‘clean’ status yet falls further in IBAL rankings
Town deemed 'clean to EU norms' yet drops four places to 32nd in latest IBAL litter survey results
Bray has regained it's 'clean' status, yet slipped further down the rankings in the latest IBAL litter survey.
In the latest results released by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) on Monday, Bray recovered from its January status of 'Moderately littered' to be deemed 'Clean to European Norms'.
However, despite the recovery, the town has dropped a further four places to 32nd spot out of the 40 areas surveyed.
An Taisce assesses litter levels in the 40 towns and cities and, in its report on Bray, hailed 'a welcome return to litter free status'.
The report noted a number of significant investments and improvements, including: 'Boardwalk on approach to town park; the railings along the promenade were being painted and shrubbery at the train station had been cut back and new planter boxes were installed.'
An Taisce also found that the recycling facility on the Boghall Road was 'much improved on previous surveys - not just with regard to litter but to presentation.'
However, two 'heavily littered sites' were identified.
'The Upper Dargle Road has remained stubbornly littered for many many years,' the report continued. 'The car park off Main Street and Quinsboro Road was not just littered but the perimeter was riddled with all manner of debris.'
The results have caused disappointment in Bray, particularly given its strong showing in the Tidy Towns competition in recent years.
Cllr Christopher Fox, cathaoirleach of Bray Municipal District, was surprised to see Bray so far down the rankings.
'This is particularly disappointing in the light of the proactive approach that we have been taking to the cleanliness of the town.
'We spend over €600,000 annually on street cleaning and litter management. We have introduced new measures to combat litter which include the introduction of 70 solar compactor/smart bins around the town,' said Cllr Fox.
He pointed out that the train station was one of the areas to be marked down in the report despite a lot of work being carried out there by Irish Rail and regular improvements made to the area by Bray Tidy Towns.
Cllr Fox also noted that one of the poorest sites in the report, the Florentine car park off Main Street and Quinsboro Road, will be developed from next year into the Florentine Shopping Centre and cinema complex.
Despite Bray's disappointing turn, the latest IBAL results are the best so far for Ireland. Ninety per cent of rural towns surveyed were deemed clean while, overall, eighty per cent of all 40 areas were found to be clean, with a top tier of 16 towns deemed 'cleaner than European Norms'.
Tullamore topped the rankings, followed by Dublin Airport Environs and Leixlip.
Once again there was a wide gap between towns and disadvantaged city areas, with the latter occupying the bottom six places in the ranking. IBAL believes that a lack of community involvement explains why certain disadvantaged urban areas continue to be plagued by litter despite improvements elsewhere.
'In the 16 years we have been conducting these surveys, this is possibly our best result,' said Conor Horgan of IBAL. 'Across the board we have seen improvements. The news is all the more positive given the importance of how we present our country over the summer months, when we attract over 40 per cent of our visitors.'
Mr Horgan warned that, despite cleaner towns and cities, 'litter has not gone away' and warned that 'dumping is the new litter'.
'This summer we again had examples of extreme littering on beaches, for example, which display a worrying indifference to the natural environment. Marine litter is a source of great concern at present and an issue IBAL may concentrate more on in the future,' he said.
'Also, dumping appears to be on the increase, and the more we ask people to pay for waste disposal the greater an issue it is likely to become. It may not be as widespread, but dumping is the new litter in many respects.'
A survey of tourist sites, including Bray Head, found that 85 per cent of them were clean, with the remainder exhibiting small amounts of litter.
While heritage amenities, shopping centres and main streets were found to be particularly clean, nationally, train and bus stations and recycle facilities were the locations most likely to be littered.