Clean-up campaigner fined over fly-tipping

AN SNP councillor who led an award-winning campaign to clean up Renfrewshire when she was convenor of the environment committee has been fined for fly- tipping.

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Marie McGurk headed up the high-profile Clean Renfrewshire campaign which won a Keep Scotland Beautiful Award
Marie McGurk headed up the high-profile Clean Renfrewshire campaign which won a Keep Scotland Beautiful Award

Marie McGurk's podiatry and chiropody business is Paisley has been targeted by enforcement officers who issued a £200 penalty.

She headed up the high- profile Clean Renfrewshire campaign which was recognised by Keep Scotland Beautiful at its annual awards.

Councillor McGurk defected from the Liberal Democrats to the SNP in 2011 and is now the party's environment spokeswoman on Renfrew-shire Council.

As a member of the Environment Policy Board, her remit is to oversee procedures "for the protection and enhancement of the environment, including street cleaning" according to the council's website.

The current convenor of the local authority's environment committee Councillor Eddie Devine accused his opposite number of hypocrisy.

Ms McGurk has also come in for criticism from West of Scotland MSP Neil Bibby, who lives a few streets from Paisley Podiatry and Chiropody Centre.

Councillor McGurk opened the business, in Causeyside Street, in 2008 and works there four days a week.

She was first elected to Renfrewshire Council as a Liberal Democrat in 1999 and now serves the Paisley South ward as an SNP councillor.

As environment convenor she oversaw the Clean Renfrewshire campaign and was a vocal opponent of fly tipping.

Speaking in February 2010, she said: "Fly tippers cost us all money because the council has to clean up after them and dispose of the rubbish they leave behind."

The campaign picked up the Programme of the Year honour at the Keep Scotland Beautiful Awards the following month.

Shortly after the campaign was launched in 2008, she said: "We all have a responsibility to maintain a clean and tidy environment and ensure that Renfrewshire is an area of which we can all be proud."

Councillor Devine said: "This is the height of hypocrisy.

"As councillors, we have a responsibility to set an example.

"Councillor McGurk should know that better than anyone. It's a case of do as I say not do as I do. You couldn't make this up."

The SNP-led Scottish Government increased Fixed Penalty Notices for fly tipping from £50 to £200 last year.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "With more than 250 million items of litter and over 60,000 fly tipping incidents a year, it is imperative that we deal with this problem. "

Central Scotland MSP, Neil Bibby, who lives near Causeyside Street, said: "I know many local people will be appalled and angry that a local business, never mind one of the town's SNP councillors, has been caught fly tipping and dumping her rubbish on the town."

When the Evening Times spoke to Councillor McGurk at Paisley Podiatry and Chiropody Centre, she held her hands up.

She said: "Unfortunately my cleaner put the stuff out and she shouldn't have done.

"So, we did pay the penalty"


Local government

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