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Drivers face new litter hazard after clean-up cutbacks

JUST a single litter-picking operation will be carried out on national routes in the entire Fingal region this year.

Fingal County Council has revealed its allocation from the National Roads Authority (NRA) will only allow for one clean-up.

The region includes the M1 motorway -- one of the first parts of the city tourists see after they arrive at Dublin Airport.

In its latest survey, Irish Business Against Litter placed the environs of the hub in the "moderately littered" category.

However, the NRA has only provided Fingal with €4,724 for road sweeping and litter removal on its national routes in the North Dublin area.

"The effect of this budget allocation is that the council is in a position to carry out one litter picking and grass cutting operation during 2012 on the national road network," Fingal officials told Fine Gael councillor Anthony Lavin.

NRA spokesman Sean O'Neill said the problem is with some road users who treat the national route network as their "personal rubbish bins".


"We need to stop using the motorways as rubbish bins," he told the Herald.

The most significant cost of the clean-up work relates to health and safety as it is carried out on high-speed roads.

The security of council staff and other road users is paramount, Fingal said.

"Crash cushions will be required to ensure the safety of crews in addition to which garda vehicles may be required to ensure effective speed controls are in place as the work is carried out," it added.

Officials blamed the extensive level of preparation and the cost to the taxpayer on the "inconsiderate behaviour of a number of road users".

In total, the NRA has allocated €145,119 for the maintenance and upkeep of the national road network in Fingal.

Apart from road sweeping and litter removal, some €67,626 is to go on emergency works and €55,784 on safety barriers.

Irish Business Against Litter chairman, Dr Tom Cavanagh, said visitors to Dublin are being "exposed to widespread litter, starting at the roads from the airport itself".