A spic and span Portlaoise pictured last August. Photo: Portlaoise Tidy Towns
Portlaoise has been given a glowing report by An Taisce inspectors who visited the Laois county town recently as part of the Irish Businesses Against Litter (IBAL) Survey.
The town has just been awarded fifth place in the cleanest town in Ireland.
In the full inspectors report, Grade A marks were dished out generously for the main street, train station, a public park, a housing estate and an approach road.
"Portlaoise has established itself as among our cleanest towns and this latest performance bears this out. Well over half of the sites surveyed got the top litter grade, with a few deserving a special mention. Portlaoise Town Park, Main Street, Car Park at Lidl and Bottle Bank at Laois County Council offices were not just good with regard to litter but also very freshly presented
There was just one seriously littered site.
"One blemish was a seriously littered site, at risk of further deterioration, if not addressed – a miscellaneous site behind blue railings on pedestrian laneway, to the rear of the Public Library," the report says.
Portlaoise Train Station: Grade A. Station platform was spotless and freshly presented. Car park area was good with regard to litter. Litter picker in action in car park at time of IBAL survey
Portlaoise Town Park: Grade A. A lovely oasis of calm, just moments from shopping centre / industrial park. 'Managed for wildlife' and 'Biodiversity'. Green Flag for Parks. River running through was clear of litter. Virtual absence throughout the remainder of the park. All aspects of the area surveyed were in good order e.g., PE equipment, playground, signage, lifebelt, seating etc.
Car Park at Lidl: Grade A. A large expanse of parking, surrounded by planting; the latter was well maintained and clear of litter. The overall impression was of a freshly presented environment. Trolley bay, bicycle park, loading bay were in good order.
Main Street: Grade A. A lovely main shopping street with road surface / markings / bollards, seating etc. in good order. Colourful planter boxes add a splash of colour along a street which has many closed down / vacant outlets - clearly a close eye is kept on these as there was no litter directly associated with them. The Main Street was very good with regard to litter.
Beechfield: Grade A. All aspects of this low-density residential area were in very good order and it was excellent with regard to litter. Care needs to be taken that the full litter bin at the grass area with goal posts doesn't build up.
N80 Tullamore Approach Road: Grade B. Litter was noticeable along this stretch of road - main items were sweet papers, fast-food wrappers, plastic bags and wrapper, coffee cups and plastic bottles.
L2122 Ballyfin Approach: Grade A. A good route with regard to litter, creating a positive first impression of the town. Grass verges had recently been cut back - no visible litter was exposed.
Misc site behind blue railings on pedestrian laneway, to the rear of Public Library: Grade C. (This can be accessed by foot under the arch with the ‘Portlaoise Farmers Market’ signage) There was a long-term build-up of a variety of food related items at this small site - sweet papers, fast-food items, plastic bottles, coffee cup etc. This site presents poorly and will only deteriorate further if not addressed.
Bring Centre at Laois Co Co buildings: Grade A. This was an exceptionally freshly presented facility, the recycle units were very clean and there was a complete absence of litter in the immediate environs.
Kildare – Portlaoise Link Road: Grade B. There was a definite litter presence along this route with litter more obvious in the direction of Kildare towards Portlaoise - main items were fast-food wrappers, plastic bags, plastic bottles and coffee cups along both the passenger side and central median.