Tidy Towns Competition

Irish Version of Site
The National Tidy Towns Competition was launched in 1958, and is still going strong; Tidy Towns is a competition which brings everybody together to work in a common cause in improving their town or village – urban or rural, big or small.

The national Tidy Towns competition is an annual competition organised by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government with the support of the main sponsor SuperValu and many other agencies.

The competition involves participating areas being rated on all aspects of their local environment and prizes awarded to the best under many different categories. The overall winner is "Ireland's Tidiest Town". which is announced at a national ceremony in September each year.

With progress monitored and detailed feedback provided year on year, most participants initially enter the competition to generate interest about the environment in their community and create a solid platform on which to raise issues with the relevant authorities. Over time, the areas attain a standard where competing for major prizes is within reach. As such it is very much a development programme as much as a competition.

The National Tidy Towns Competition is judged during the period June / July & August and the results are generally published in early September. Athenry Tidy Towns Association prepares an application form and submits it to the Tidy Towns Unit in the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government each year. The application form is supported by a comprehensive report on developments in the town over the preceding year, and details of possible or proposed enhancements expected over the coming years. Athenry is entered in the "Small Town" category (i.e. Category D - Population range from 2,501 to 5,000 people). Athenry has consistently improved its marks each year, and remains the best town in its category in County Galway.

The Tidy Towns Competition has evolved over the years, and now covers a wide range of items on which the Town is judged. Additionally the competition parameters were changed from the 2006 competition, with an adjusted marking system. As an Association we welcome the changed marking system, the changed town categorisation, and the inclusion of new modules which are open to towns around the country to enter.

The adjudication categories are as follows:

Overall Developmental Approach
Involvement of the local community in committee activities, partnership with local businesses and agencies, work carried out in a planned and targeted manner. This includes a Five Year Strategic Plan . Marks Available: 50

The Built Environment
Conservation and presentation of buildings, treatment of derelict sites, design, extent and suitability of civic amenities, general use of the Irish Language. Marks Available: 50

Appropriate selection and siting of trees, shrubs and flowers for year-round effect, maintenance of planted areas, management of open spaces. Marks Available: 50

Wildlife and Natural Amenities
Conservation of natural amenities and wildlife areas, encouragement of wildlife, amenity walks and nature trails, appropriate access. Marks Available: 50

Litter Control
Absence of litter and dumping, existence of regular litter patrols and other planned activities including involvement of schools, promotion of anti-litter awareness. Marks Available: 50

General lack of clutter in town centre and environs, location and condition of signage, unused lamp poles, blocked footpaths, unsightly electric cables, absence of graffiti and fly posting, traffic management, control of weed growth on kerbs. Marks Available: 30

Waste Minimisation
Promotion of best practice, highlighting facilities, schools initiatives, segregating litter in cleanups, working with local businesses and agencies. Marks Available: 20

Residential Areas
Elements of the above, in particular maintenance of boundary walls, fences, gardens and communal open spaces, appropriate planting, estate signage and linkage of area to town centre. Marks Available: 40

Roads Streets & Back Areas
Elements of the above, in particular presentation of approach roads, streets, connecting roads, lane-ways and bridges. Marks Available: 50

General Impression

Presentation of town or village as an integrated centre, including evidence of exceptional effort to overcome a particularly difficult problem. Marks Available: 10

Second Adjudication:
An Adjudicators Report is provided to each entrant, this report will make comment on current facilities and on each of the items listed above. A range of towns who score well in the first round adjudication are subjected to a second adjudication, which can often provide additional useful advice to the local Tidy Towns Group and indeed to the Local Authorities.

The Tidy Towns Unit in the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government publish a useful Tidy Towns Handbook which can be used by Tidy Towns Groups or Residents Associations for guidance in improving their localities. The Tidy Towns Unit can be contacted by phone at Dublin 01.8883948 or Wexford 053.9117374.

Tidy Towns Website - www.tidytowns.ie