Health and Safety advice on litter picking which could see roads closed is ‘madness’

Simple litter picks across the borough could see entire roads closed in what has been described as ‘madness’

Rural roads across the borough have gone five months without so much as a crisp packet lifted, thanks to the new advice from the Health and Safety Executive, according to one local councillor.

Cllr Declan McAlinden

Cllr Declan McAlinden

SDLP Craigavon Councillor Declan McAlinden claims guidance issued by the Executive has resulted in roads not being litter picked for almost half a year and has called for a common sense approach to prevail.

McAlinden said: “Rural roads are in a complete and utter mess.”

“No matter which town you drive out of, the hedgerows are littered with wrappings, bottles and food containers. Whilst there needs to be a greater emphasis on catching those responsible, we just cannot let the stuff lie there, it must be cleaned up.

Praising environmental health staff, Cllr McAlinden explained that while it is the responsibility of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, this advice from the HSE’s advice has caused problems.

“The SDLP council group has raised this issue and have met with the Council’s director and senior officials to discuss this very issue. I was astonished to learn that new advice from the Health and Safety Executive is apparently the reason why we cannot get our roads cleaned.

“The official advice is to ensure that when staff or contractors are litter picking along roads there must be a set clearance area between operatives and vehicles using the road.

“In its most simple terms, we could see our main roads coned off or even closed off completely just to enable litter to be cleared.”

Councillor McAlinden added: “Officers across the councils are challenging this guidance and that staff involved in the work think it’s madness.”

“The health and safety of our staff and contractors are vital, but this guidance is overkill.”

“It could and will see litter stacked up on roadsides and will ramp up the costs of clearing it when the issue is settled. I just hope common sense prevails and that some action can be taken in the interim.”