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Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report

Cleaner Neighbourhoods Reports 2021/22 Cover Image 

An Annual Snapshot of the Pollution Picture

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’s Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report provides a detailed yearly analysis of local environmental quality across all 11 councils. Covering everything from littering and dog fouling, education, campaigning, public engagement, enforcement, it tracks our progress toward a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future. 

The report sets out to give clear, unbiased information about efforts to educate, engage and, where necessary, enforce against anti-social behaviours, such as littering, dog fouling and graffiti. 

As well as providing a summary of the NI Litter Survey, which looks at litter at more than 990 sites across the country, the report includes detail on: 

  • Enforcement actions taken by councils, including the number of fixed penalties issued 
  • Enrolment in the Eco-Schools programme which has litter and the environment as core topics for school children
  • Engagement by community and volunteer groups in projects and events which clean-up and empower communities 
  • Council-led litter education programmes
  • Summary of marine litter surveys carried out along Northern Ireland's coastline 
  • The amount and impact of spending on street cleansing

The Latest Report 

The Cleaner Neighbourhoods Reports 2021/22 shows modest progress in tackling certain local-pollution issues, with the number of sites failing to meet adequate standards of cleanliness falling from 18% to 15% and levels of dog fouling returning to pre-pandemic levels. 

However, there are worrying trends identified in others areas: cigarette butts remain the most common form of litter encountered (present in 65% of transits) and 90% of rural roads surveyed featured some kind of drinks packaging. Overall, the picture is one of continued declining levels of cleanliness since 2017. 

Dr Ian Humphreys, CEO of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said: “The amount of litter we are now having to deal with is extremely concerning – it’s not only unsightly but it has a real impact on council budgets, wasting money that could be spent on other public services and helping deal with the cost of living crisis. There’s no evidence to suggest that human nature has fundamentally changed over the past number of decades, but what has changed is the amount of plastic packaging being produced, having grown exponentially over the past 15 years in particular. That’s why I strongly believe it’s misleading to lay the problem entirely at the feet of the public. We need to have an honest conversation about this issue and that is why manufacturers and retailers need to step up and take their share of the cost of cleaning up the mess on our streets.”

Read the Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report 2021/22

Cleaner Neighbourhoods Over The Years

Want to trace the history of Northern Ireland’s pollution performance? Take a look at our previous reports.

In 2016 Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful replaced the NI Litter Survey reports, carried out on behalf of the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs since 2006, with the Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report – a more comprehensive look at the wider picture of litter in Northern Ireland.


For more information on our Cleaner Neighbourhoods Reports, please contact enquiries@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org.