Thirty-five people have been fined in the first two weeks of a Sunderland City Council crackdown on city centre littering.
The fines, each totalling £150, have been handed out as part of the council’s drive to improve Sunderland city centre. This follows the launch of a deep cleaning programme at the beginning of April as part of a council commitment to “a cleaner, greener city”, which includes an additional £460,000 investment in frontline services.
The majority of the fines (88.5 per cent) were given for dropping cigarette butts. The remainder were for various other types of littering, such as dropping food wrappers, bus tickets and chewing gum.
Sunderland City Council’s Executive Director of Neighbourhoods, Fiona Brown, said: “We want a city centre we can all be proud of and we know our residents do too. That’s why we’ve committed to investing an additional £460,000 into frontline environmental services as part of our commitment to a clean green city.
“It’s also why we will continue to fine anyone we catch dropping litter. No-one wants to see litter strewn pavements covered in cigarette ends or chewing gum.
“Cigarette ends are full of all sorts of harmful chemicals as well as taking approximately 12 years to break down. They’re also really bad for wildlife and the environment, as is chewing gum so we would urge everyone to do the right thing and use the litter bins provided or take their litter home.”
Almost 70 volunteers from businesses across the city, including Liebherr Construction, Stagecoach Bus, Sunderland College, the council, Wilko and Sunderland Business Group, took part in the first day of the clean-up. Hundreds of cigarette butts and 0.5 tonnes of litter have been removed from bins, while 920 square metres of pavements in Park Lane have been scrubbed and hot washed to tackle staining, gum build up and graffiti.
The work, which has already received a positive reaction from members of the public, will continue this week before moving on to Olive Street and Derwent Street after Easter. Fiona Brown said:
“We’ve been really pleased by the positive response we’ve had to the clean-up from members of the public and the support we’ve had from our partners Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID), volunteers and from city centre businesses too.
“We all want to see a successful, vibrant and attractive city centre that people want to spend time in and businesses want to invest in and this in an important step to getting to where we want to be.”