To the Secretary of your Tidy Towns Group


Dear Secretary,


As we approach Christmas I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for all your co-operation and hard work during the year.


In spite of some disappointments with the results of the National Tidy Towns Competition I think Kildare is doing well overall and in many cases making great improvements. I hope the training, grants and other assistance that we offered you all during the year has been of some benefit.


I would like to thank you for attending the group meetings in October in such numbers. I brought the issues raised by you to the Dept. of the Environment and senior officials here in KCC and I enclose the responses I have received so far.


Many of you will have attended the meetings organised by Tony Maher of Celbridge Tidy Towns and you will know that a small number of key issues have been raised for presenting to KCC. Some of them were addressed at the Budget Meeting on December and I also brought them to the attention of the Management Team today. There is a firm commitment from KCC to address these issues and to give serious consideration to the suggestions made in relation to litter control. The Director of Environmental Services has undertaken to report on this matter within three months.


I look forward to seeing progress in the areas of concern to Tidy Towns groups through the involvement of you the voluntary sector, the members and staff of Kildare County Council and to all of us reaping the benefits of this work.


I hope you all have a nice Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year and I look forward to meeting you all again soon.


Yours faithfully,


Administrative Officer, Community & Enterprise


Issues raised with Dept. Environment Heritage & Local Government on behalf

of Kildare Tidy Towns Groups. 7th November 2006


I met with David McLoughlin, Tidy Towns Unit, DOEHLG for over two hours during which we addressed the following issues which had been raised by Kildare Tidy Towns groups during our recent meetings:


General Issues


The department has a substantial budget for Tidy Towns and receives substantial monies from its sponsors, the main one being SuperValu. This sponsorship arrangement is drawing to a conclusion and under public procurement rules, the new deal is being sent out to tender. There is considerable interest in being the new national sponsor.


Until recently the competition was run by Bord Fáilte and the judges were drawn from the regional tourism authorities. These judges continued to be used by the DOE and up to this year they judged the first round of the competition. Also up to this year, towns which scored over a certain amount, automatically received a second judging from a panel of “national” judges hired by the DOE. In 2006 this system changed. Many of the judges retired and those that remained were incorporated with the DOE judges into one panel. For various reasons there were oniy 9 judges available this year. The DOE is currently recruiting additional judges and hopes to have from 15 to 20 next year. Also this year, in order to avoid second judging a town which was unlikely to win a prize, only those towns in the top 10% of each category were given a second judging. This is done by a different judge and is meant to re-affirm the first judges’ findings and make sure they were fair and accurate.


Mr. McLoughlin agreed to address Kildare Tidy Towns groups in the New Year if you think this is useful.


The following issues were raised with him:


Marking scheme needs to be universally applied and should be transparent i.e. specific marks given for specific actions. Randomness in judging has negative effect. A more consistent approach is required nationally i.e. use a template


Agreed in principle. However, doesn’t want it to be come too “scientific” with no room for flexibility. Judge’s personality and their own field of “expertise” also have a bearing on how they view a town but they try to view a town objectively as a “visitor”


1 judge is not enough.


Insufficient judges to provide more than I. They are rotated from year to year

Judging should take place within town signs not speed limits due to anomalies in speed limits and where they are located


Rule book says “Rural towns and villages will be mainly assessed within the town or village signs or, where none exist, within the speed limit signs.”


Each town should receive a second judging, particularly as judging starts so early. Many projects are not fully completed in early June


Insufficient resources to do a second judging for everyone. Judges take into account the fact that some projects may only be starting at the start of the summer or flowers may not be fully in bloom. Photos from previous years can be included with application form to give indication of previous efforts


Judges shouldn’t be too severe in marking areas over which Tidy Towns groups have no control.


Agreed. Indications should be provided with application form of areas that are a problem for Tidy Towns groups


Reference should not be made to areas not in the town (several references to Dunlavin in Kilcullen!)


Fully accepted and apologies offered


Costing projects is not reasonable as voluntary labour cannot be costed


Considered reasonable to ask for costings as it puts a value on voluntary labour


Some marks difficult to understand i.e. Branuockstown got 32 out of 50 for litter yet have no shops, school etc. and no litter! In Kilmeade, the judge said the map supplied was good, clear and straightforward yet he/she seemed unable to follow it and made no reference to several new prominent features,


Points in litter category are earned not just for absence of litter but for litter strategy, participation in National Spring Clean, litter control routine etc.


Why aren’t Tidy Towns Committees allowed to nominate someone to accompany the judges


Would take too long to get around every town


Lack of consistency in marking i.e. no extra marks gained for clear extra effort (3-year plan submitted by Kildare Town for first time and no extra marks given for it!)


Point accepted. See earlier point re marking scheme.


Approach by judges could perhaps be more encouraging before criticism is made, bearing in mind that the work is voluntary and the report is often used as a tool to maintain existing support and to recruit new support


Point accepted.


Provide more space on the application form to answer the questions and make the paper easier to write on! Use downloadable application form.


Form was available on-line this year. New form will be available next year.


Provide the judges with the reports from the previous 2/3 years in order to get an idea if comments/recommendations made by previous judges have been acted on and if “black spots” have been improved


Already happens. Important to highlight improvements in the application form.


Take better account of the size of a town/village bearing in mind that there are unique challenges facing areas of different population size and this should be considered when allocating marks


Point accepted. Referred to the gold, silver and bronze medal awards and advised that towns provide accurate population figures the bigger the population the wider the range within which people can win these awards.


M. F.






Clamp down on unauthorised signage

There is a continunig effort to damp down on unauthonsed signage, induding auctioneers signs, and fines are issued where appropriate.


Implement Derelict Sites Act in all cases of dereliction, even where planning permission has

been received. (Anger in

Kilcock where buildings were allowed fall into serious disrepair)

Responsibility for derelict sites passed to Environment during the year and, going forward, I expect a concerted effort to address this issue. (If you have any details on the specific buildings in Kilcock, perhaps you would pass them on to



Follow up litter fines more vigorously. Implement Name and Shame Policy

Littering is being followed up vigorously - additional litter wardens came on stream during the year and we have witnessed an increase in fines issued.


The Name and Shame Policy will be implemented.


It~s important to reahse that KCC alone will not solve the littering problem and that the co-operation of all community sectors is required here.


Install more recycling facilities. Ensure they are well kept. Consider underground receptacles

Our aim is to install more recycling facilities but it is generally difficult to find suitable sites - everybody wants them but not in their backyard...


Deploy Litter Wardens at weekends to deal with litter at Take-Aways. Owners of off-licences and take-aways should be held more accountable Proliferation of auctioneers’ signs should not be allowed


Litter Wardens have been deployed at weekends to deal with littering and we will continue to do so.



Proliferation of auctioneers’ signs should not be allowed

See above