Navan has lost its ‘clean’ status, dropping to 31st place in the national litter league table.

Dirty old town? IBAL Litter survey saw Navan lose its 'Clean' status and dropping to 31st spot

Navan has lost its ‘clean’ status and dropped six places to 31st out of 40 in the Irish Business Against Litter League (IBAL).

The first national litter survey of 2024 by the business group shows Navan losing its clean status and dropping to ‘moderately littered’ in 31st spot. Drogheda meanwhile is again ‘clean’ and rises four places to 20th, while Dundalk, previously littered, has improved to ‘moderately littered’ in 30th.

The study reveals an overall improvement in litter levels, and a decrease in cans and plastic bottles on our streets on foot of the Deposit Return Scheme. The An Taisce report said “Navan continues to suffer from a number of heavily littered areas.”

Top-ranking sites included a couple of the approach routes into the town and the Bring Facility at the Fairgreen car park – the latter was freshly presented and maintained.

A more thorough approach to cleaning along Trimgate Street could easily lift its litter grade. There was evidence of clearing of burnt items at St Patrick’s Park and generally the area was cleared of major dumping – however, it was still heavily littered. By far the most heavily littered site surveyed in Navan was a section of the R147 outside the town – there was a site which wasn’t just casually littered but subject to significant dumping.”

The Mayor of Navan, Cllr Eddie Fennessy, said he was disappointed with the latest rating.

“The council are doing their bit to address litter problems in the town and I was hopeful that we were going climb a few places this time round.

“Huge progress has been made to manage litter black spots that have held us back in the past. A significant investment was made to clear the St Patrick's Park area recently and our rating there has gone from a D to C which is very good progress.

“The significant dumping on the R147 mentioned in the report, I'm reassured was a once-off incident and it has been cleared. I think we can feel really hard done by to be rated so harshly on that.

“I regularly engage with the local area team and their staff on the ground. They work very hard to keep Navan free from litter. This rating is harsh.

“There are plenty of services and facilities available to deal with litter problems. I ask people to use them please and keep Navan clean.”

The study, conducted by An Taisce on behalf of IBAL, showed a healthy rise in towns reaching the upper tier of cleanliness – ‘Cleaner than European Norms’ - and a fall of 35 per cent in the number of towns branded ‘littered’.

Naas regained the top position it lost last year, ahead of Monaghan and new entrant Blanchardstown. Ballybane in Galway slipped to bottom of the rankings.

“Our study paints a much better picture than a few years ago, with levels of cleanliness definitely rising,” says IBAL’s Conor Horgan.

“Once again, no town was judged to be either a ‘litter blackspot’ or ‘heavily littered’ – that’s real progress.”

There was a near 30 per cent fall in the prevalence of can-related litter since the previous survey. While plastic bottles were also less common than in any past survey, they remain the third most prevalent form of litter on our streets.

“It’s early days and we’re still seeing too many plastic bottles on our streets, but we can expect further improvement as people become accustomed to the Deposit Return Scheme and the legacy non-returnable items are flushed out of the system. Ultimately, we should see can and plastic bottle litter disappear entirely.”