Dirty streets 'due to farmland muck'

A SUFFOLK council which has the worst street cleaning record in the region has blamed farmland muck for its poor results.

Richard Smith

A SUFFOLK council which has the worst street cleaning record in the region has blamed farmland muck for its poor results.

Suffolk Coastal District Council is joint bottom with South Cambridgeshire out of 48 councils in the eastern region according to a survey published yesterday.

GMB, Britain's general union, compiled the table based on information submitted by councils to the Audit Commission for the 12 months ending March 2007.

In Suffolk Coastal, 24% of the streets were assessed as dirty. Elsewhere the figure was 19% in St Edmundbury and Babergh, 17.3% in Colchester, 11.5% in Mid Suffolk and 10.8% in Forest Heath.

Ipswich had the best result locally with 5%, making it fifth cleanest. Maldon was the cleanest area.

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Suffolk Coastal said it was at a disadvantage because it was a rural county and Andrew Nunn, Suffolk Coastal's cabinet member for the green environment, said: “The district has a large number of rural roads which are more likely to be affected by mud, soil and leaves, particularly when there is a large volume of heavy farm traffic using the roads.

“This kind of detritus is included in the figures for street cleanliness and presents predominantly rural districts, like Suffolk Coastal, with particular challenges not faced by more urban areas such as Ipswich.

“The council conducts its own survey of street cleanliness three times each year to make sure that we are responding to these particular challenges in the most efficient way.

“These efforts have earned us an excellent reputation with local people, who gave Suffolk Coastal top marks in the county for cleanliness in an Ipsos MORI survey last year.”

The GMB said Britain's streets were becoming cleaner but it urged some councils to employ more street cleaners, partly funded by a levy on fast food outlets.

In Woodbridge there was a row in February when the Woodbridge Society said the town centre was being spoilt by dirt and litter, and an increase in discarded cigarette butts.

But the district council said the Thoroughfare, the town's main shopping street, was at the Government's Grade A standard for cleanliness.

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