Question : Councillor M. Baker
“To ask the Chief Executive to bring a report on the feedback from the pilot deep clean programme carried out in a number of County towns this summer. Will this deep clean programme be extended to other towns in 2020?”
Deep Cleans were piloted in a number of villages in the County earlier in 2019, including Stepaside, Cabinteely, Ballybrack and Shankill. The team involved in the Deep Clean initiative also worked closely with the Dalkey Tidy Towns group during the year. The Deep Clean initiative took a coordinated approach to cleaning and tidying of streets and public
areas in villages, identifying and carrying out repairs/improvements to roads, footpaths, street furniture, etc. and highlighting other areas of concern or work for other DLR Departments or Utilities. Importantly, it also involved engagement with local tidy towns/districts groups, business associations and local councillors.
Typical activities carried out as part of a town or village Deep Clean included:
sweeping of roads/paths
clearing of road/footpath drainage and gullies
weed removal (an environmentally sensitive, non-chemical approach to weed removal was used)
Repairs to damaged roads/footpaths or street furniture, such as signage and bollards
Some the lessons learned from the pilot were:
Value of Engagement with Tidy Towns/Districts Groups and Business Associations
– where tidy towns/districts groups or business associations were already established, it was more straightforward to reach out and engage with representatives of the village or town communities. The representatives were much clearer on the issues on the ground and where assistance from the Council would be most beneficial. Staff from Municipal Services
Dept., and in particular the Cleansing section, liaised with the groups on their issues, taking on board the results and feedback received from recent tidy towns or tidy districts competitions. Where representative groups for a town or a village aren’t in place, it would be recommended that tidy towns or tidy districts groups should be established. This is
something that DLR, with the assistance of community groups, councillors and others, would be happy to promote and encourage. In this way, DLR could engage with the group’s representatives to understand their needs and concerns, and help build capacity of the group over time. There may also be a role for local businesses and their staff to get involved and this will be explored for future Deep Clean projects.
Timing of the Deep Clean Works – where possible, Deep Clean works should be carried out prior to May/June each year, as this aligns with the village’s/town’s own preparatory works for the tidy towns or tidy districts competitions. This is a challenge for DLR, as staff and resources may not always be available at this time of year and such work may need to
spread out throughout the year. Coordinated and Collaborative Approach Across DLR – while Cleansing and Road Maintenance sections may have taken the lead on the Deep Clean initiative, these sections worked closely with other Departments/Sections in DLR, such as Parks Department and the Public Lighting section, to try and remedy defects or deal with issues across the public realm within the particular town or village.
Challenge with Weed Removal on Hard Surfaces – the Cleansing section have adopted a nonchemical approach to weed control since 2018 and, as a result, manual weed removal methods (scuffing, removal with hard bristles, etc.) have been used to remove and control weeds on roads, footpaths and paved areas. The manual methods are viewed as being not
as effective as the potent glyphosate-based chemicals used previously, but this is part of a trade off to try and safeguard human health and protect and enhance our environment. We are examining the possibility of using environmentally-friendly herbicide products for weed control and so we would envisage that our integrated weed control plan and approaches to
Deep Cleans will contain a suite of measures and treatments and our approach in 2020 will build on our experience over recent years.
The scheme has received positive feedback, generally, from those towns and villages we worked with in 2019 and it is a scheme that DLR believes is worthwhile and should continue. It is intended to continue with the Deep Clean initiative in 2020, incorporating additional towns and villages. However, the scope and extent of the Deep Clean initiative in 2020 is yet to be finalised, and will be dependent on the level of resources available.