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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 169

Date:- 25 September 2004

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COUNCILS across Merseyside have been urgeing for support for a Government drive to curb loutish behaviour and help turn our neighborhoods into cleaner, greener, safer areas.

At a special conference in Manchester this met over a hundred local authorities chiefs including those from Liverpool, Ellesmere Port and Neston, and Sefton will hear how they could be given new powers to:-

* Dish out on the spot fines to graffiti artists and fly-posterers
* Remove abandoned cars more quickly
* Hit businesses with a £100 penalty for putting rubbish out on the
wrong night
* Fine people who dump trash in other people's gardens, and...
* Hand out fixed penalties to those who spit out chewing gum

With Liverpool heading towards the coveted title of European Capital of Culture 2008 it is hoped that the council bosses will take heed of the advice to ensure that the city will be up to scratch when it comes to cleanliness and the state of its streets.

And backing this get-tough policy are organisers of the conference, ENCAMS, the charity behind the Keep Britain Tidy campaign. In fact, their Regional
Director Joanne Whitaker reckons these proposals will be highly effective and hugely popular with a public clambering for tougher punishments for yobs.

Said Joanne:- "When people hear of countries such as Singapore where litterers are fined heavily, forced to clean up in a bib and named and shamed in the national newspapers, they ask - why can't that happen, here?

While we're not advocating such an extreme response, we believe that clamping down on the kind of behaviour that has transformed our town
centres, countryside, parks and housing estates into a tip, will make a difference and crucially, gain the public's support."

According to a recent Keep Britain Tidy survey, many people drop litter because they believe they will never get caught. And while councils
including Liverpool have made great efforts to prosecute louts, loopholes in current legislation mean that far too many are still getting away scot-free.

Respondents also said that if they were hit in the pocket with a hefty fine they wouldn't litter again - and that while education campaigns and advertising drives were all well and good, they weren't nearly as effective as being brought to book for dropping rubbish.

"In 2008 Liverpool, and Merseyside as a whole, will see an influx of people pounding their streets from both home and abroad - but it is not only for the newcomers that things must change. The permanent residents of Merseyside demand and deserve to walk down a road which is free from litter, dog fouling and graffiti.

The worst thing about environmental crime is that it hits our needy neighbourhoods the most and when you live in a place blighted by litter, graffiti, vandalism, fly-tipped junk, poor lighting and grubby alleyways - it's no wonder you feel fearful" continued Joanne Whitaker.

For the sake of everyone living in these areas, we need to reclaim the streets from the thug and make them a safe and pleasant place to live and work in again."

Aside from hearing presentations from ENCAMS and Government, delegates at last weeks event discussed a wide range of issues from about how to curb fly-tipping to reducing noise pollution. 

The Government's plans to clean up England and Wales are outlined in the  "Clean Neighbourhoods Consultation Document". View it in full by logging on to the Defra website

A brake from cars!

STILT-WALKERS, unicyclists, theatre performers and even a punter took over the streets on Wednesday 22 September as part of European Car Free Day.

Liverpool will joined hundreds of towns and cities across Europe in celebrating Car Free Day. Bold Street, in the city centre, was only be open to pedestrians and cyclists between 7am to 6pm.

Sections of Slater Street and Newington Street were also blocked off to vehicles during the day. 

To add to the celebrations, their was a Farmers' Market, street stalls and live music and entertainment through out the day. 

All the local businesses in the area were been granted special licenses to display their goods in the streets. 

Making the most of this opportunity was Voodoo hairdressers who showed off their cutting skills on the pavement.  Even The Body Shop gave lucky passers-by a make-over and Double Bubble jewelers took all that glittered on to the streets.

Executive Member for Regeneration, Councillor Peter Millea, launched the day's events by making the most of the clear road and stepping into a specially adapted boat on wheels! He said:- "European Car Free Day is an important day in Liverpool's calendar.

It has been a very successful event in the past with people leaving their cars at home and finding alternative ways of getting round the city. 

It's going to become increasingly important for people to find other ways into the city as we head towards 2008. Road works are going to be unavoidable with the massive building projects planned for the city, so tomorrow will give everyone the chance to use public transport, cycle or even walk to work.

The amount of people taking part in this year's car free day is really encouraging as it shows that the day is taken seriously and people see the benefits of a cleaner, healthier, quieter environment."

The event was part of European Mobility Week which aims to encourage people to think long-term about using different methods of transport and consider how traffic affects our towns and cities.

Car Free Day was also being supported by schools who were encouraging everyone, parents and teachers alike to leave their cars at home.   Some of the schools involved included St Sebastians's Primary School in Kensington. They arranged three walking buses to take the children to and from school.

St Michael-in-the-Hamlet Primary School produced posters and flyers advertising the day and displayed banners on the school railings. Other schools in Liverpool were invited on blue badge walks of the city centre and a tour of the FACT centre.

Foreign Secretary condemns terrorist 'menace'

THE international community must come together to defeat terrorists and their despicable aims, the Foreign Secretary has said.

Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Jack Straw said that the UK is continuing to work towards the release of the British engineer, Ken Bigley, currently held captive by terrorists in Iraq. 

The Foreign Secretary added Iraq is seeing the depths to which terrorists will go:- "No nation is in favour of the terrorist insurgency now occurring there. We all recognise that what is being attempted by the terrorists in Iraq is an attack both on the Iraqi people and on everything for which this organisation stands; safety, security, human rights. 

We must come together to defeat the terrorists and their despicable aims."

Mr Straw said that the UK would be working on a new resolution with Russia to stop terrorists sheltering behind refugee status in other countries. 

"We cannot let terrorists exploit a protection designed for the persecuted, not the persecutors."
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