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Local authority to stop street cleaning operations

A Scottish local authority has decided that the best way for it to combat waste problems is to stop its street cleaning operations altogether.

While this may sound like a contradictory standpoint, East Lothian Council (ELC) believes that the approach will force the wider public into taking responsibility for their waste.

ELC principal amenity officer Stuart Pryde said: For too long now local authorities have been tolerating the scourge that is littering. It is about time that the general public owned up to their moral responsibility and dealt with their own litter.

The actions of a few have been hitting everyone in the pocket, with us wasting peoples taxes on the matter. This is now going to stop and we are going to shock people into making their areas cleaner with this intensive period of action.

With street sweeping services set to be withdrawn from a number of areas over the next few months, Tranent town centre is the first to be affected by the moves.

During the first week, sweeping staff will limit their operations to emptying bins, clearing broken glass and removing other dangerous items while it is hoped that at the end of this period, a community led litter picking exercise will take place.

If the public respond to the initiative positively, it will be rolled out in all the countys towns.

Pryde added: The time is right to start this and Tranent is the obvious place to start as it has a small and compact town centre heavily influenced by schoolchildren and is easy to manage. We have sent letters to all shop owners and received no negative feedback whatsoever and most have been supportive.

We really cant lose. Either the street will be knee deep in litter which will show everyone how bad the problem is, or the good people of Tranent will say no were not getting caught out and tackle this problem. If its a success, well roll it out in all our towns over the next three months.

The council is hoping that the move will draw out community spirit in beating litter problems with shopkeepers expected to co-operate and clean the section of pavement outside their premises.

It is also designed to encourage good citizenship and the local authority has already launched a number of initiatives. One of these is entering schoolchildren seen to be using litter bins at lunchtime into a draw where they can win vouchers for CDs and DVDs.

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