District criticised for unacceptably dirty roads

PUBLISHED: 17:31 09 June 2010 | UPDATED: 15:25 10 June 2010

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A survey claims North Herts has some of Britain’s dirtiest streets.

The findings, published by the GMB Union, rate 44 per cent of roads and paths in the district as being “unacceptably dirty”, making North Herts the third worst district in the country.

Six per cent of streets in the area are said to have an “objectionable level of litter”.

But North Herts District Council has branded the results an “insult” to residents, and says the survey is misleading.

Leader of the district council, Cllr Lynda Needham, said: “The council constantly monitors the levels of local litter and detritus against national performance and has an efficient programme of cleansing.

“The GMB has misused data out of context to come up with some very out-of-date figures that I completely reject. It has assessed us entirely on detritus rather than litter, which is an issue of far greater importance to local people.

“North Herts is largely rural and we have 560 miles of country roads to clean, presenting very different issues to compact town centres. It is hardly surprising that leaves and soil are more of an issue for us with a large number of open spaces and trees.

“As far as litter is concerned, the GMB gives us credit for having problems in only six per cent of our streets which compares very favourably with the national average,” she said.

“It based its report on outdated figures at a time when changes were being made to the service,” she said.

“These changes have proved very successful and the improvements are reflected in the results of our most recent citizens’ panel, which shows an 87 per cent satisfaction rate with our cleansing service.

“It is an insult to everyone living in North Herts to imply that we treat our beautiful towns and countryside with such disregard and wade through mountains of rubbish and litter.

“I would urge the GMB to come to North Herts and see for themselves what a beautiful and green area this really is,” she concluded.

South Cambridgeshire fared a little better, with the survey finding that its roads fell 28 per cent below an acceptable level of debris, but only one per cent below acceptable levels of rubbish.

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