Just how clean is our town centre?

Falkirk Council has been working hard to keep the town clean
Falkirk Council has been working hard to keep the town clean

The streets of Falkirk town centre have supposedly never been cleaner - but litter is still a problem.

According to Keep Scotland Beautiful, which carried out an audit of the town centre earlier this year, Falkirk has become a cleaner place than it was in 2011, with 95 per cent of the sites inspected considered to be of acceptable standard.

Councillor Craig R Martin, environment and community convener, said: “This survey shows our approach to dealing with litter is working and with help from partners like Falkirk Delivers we can tackle this problem effectively.”

Falkirk Delivers chairman Corrie Cuthbertson added: “The businesses in the town centre have always told us they want clean streets. I look forward to an even better result next year.

“This excellent result couldn’t have been achieved without the assistance of many partners - especially Falkirk Council whose outstanding street cleansing team work hard day in and day out to rid our streets of unsightly litter.”

However, people on the street are saying the town is simply cleaner because it is not attracting as many shoppers as it once did, while others say the litter problem remains as bad as ever and people who drop their mess behind them are cancelling out the good work of those who have the job of picking it up.

Despite major campaigns highlighting the blight of chewing gum, it was still present, sticking to the pavements of 74 per cent of inspected sites.

According to the audit, cigarette ends are the biggest problem in Falkirk with 95 per cent of the areas looked at containing smokers’ castoff butts.

Falkirk Delivers is already planning to work with the council’s litter strategy team and Zero Waste Scotland to launch a major new smoking litter campaign.

However, smoking-related litter, which has increased since the smoking ban, is not the only problem.

Drinks cans and bottles, sweets and crisps, fast food containers also continue to have an impact on the general appearance of the town.

Trade waste placed out for collection was present in 18 per cent of the sites looked at and Falkirk Delivers is currently working on a project which will hopefully deal with the problem.