96% of local roads meet national cleanliness standards
Wandsworth Council has been shortlisted for a prestigious national environmental award for the work it does in keeping the borough’s streets clean.
The council has made it through to the finals of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management’s Clean Britain Awards 2014 after recording a 30 per cent reduction in flytips last year.
The awards “recognise excellence and best practice in street cleansing and local environmental quality” and “celebrate the importance of a clean and well maintained environment. They help in promoting civic pride, better quality of life in local communities and support economic development and prosperity".
The news coincides with the publication of new Government statistics that show Wandsworth has the cleanest streets in inner London. The data, published by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), shows that Wandsworth has the second lowest level of flytipping across all the London boroughs, beaten only by outer London borough Kingston-upon-Thames, based on the number of incidents per head of population.
In contrast to Wandsworth’s 30 per cent reduction, the Defra figures show that across England as a whole flytipping rose by 20 per cent, leaving local authorities with the task of clearing away a total of 852,000.
The Government data shows that 66 per cent of flytips in England last year involved household waste. This amounted to 563,000 incidents. Those involving commercial waste from shops and businesses rose by 62 per cent from 40,000 in 2012/13 to 65,000 in 2013/14.
Across England, the dumping of white good like fridges and washing machines rose by 152 per cent, from 13,000 incidents to 34,000. And nationwide there were 138,000 flytips of single large items like mattresses or pieces of furniture.
Wandsworth currently spends just under £4m a year keeping the borough’s street clean and free of flytips.
Every residential road in the borough is cleaned at least twice a week. Busy ones with a high footfall can be cleaned as much as seven times a week. Bustling town centres like Tooting and Clapham Junction receive six cleans every day while the others are cleaned at least four times daily.
There is also co-ordination between street sweeping teams and refuse collection crews with the street cleaners shadowing their colleagues closely to ensure that any spillages are picked up quickly.
The determination to keep the borough clean and tidy has resulted in 96 per cent of local streets successfully meeting national standards for cleanliness, while the most recent resident survey showed that 78 per cent of local people judged the town hall’s street cleaning performance as either good or very good, up from 64 per cent in 2011.
To ensure the clean up operation is done efficiently, the council is using a fleet of modern energy efficient vehicles that sweep and “hoover” up litter.
It is also stepping up enforcement action against individual litterbugs and local shops and businesses that try to save money by unlawfully dumping their waste on the highway. In the past 12 months nearly 800 people have faced legal action for breaching litter laws.
The council also carries out regular spot checks on commercial premises in the borough to make sure they are complying with waste disposal legislation. By law all companies must employ registered contractors to take away their waste and they must retain records and receipts to prove that they have disposed of their waste legally. It is unlawful for shops and businesses to use refuse removal services paid for by taxpayers.
And it has also introduced specific time bands when shops and companies can leave their waste out for collection by their contractors. This is designed to stop pavements being cluttered with unsightly binbags or refuse containers for long periods of the day.
In order to help keep their neighbourhoods clean, people are being urged not to leave their binbags out for collection too early in the week. They should only be left out on the morning they are scheduled to be picked up. Bags that are left out too early can be ripped open by cats and foxes and their contents spread over pavements and people’s front gardens.
If at all possible binbags should be placed in metal or plastic dustbins with a lid. Refuse should never be left on the highway where it can cause an obstruction or attract other flytips.
Residents with front gardens are requested to leave their bags or dustbins close to the front of their properties, while those without front gardens should leave it as close as possible to their doorsteps.
Community services spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “It is a testament to the hard work we put in to keeping our streets clean and tidy that we have achieved the cleanest streets in inner London and stand a chance of winning this prestigious national award.
“We know from the detailed surveys we carry out just how important clean streets are for our residents and how high their expectations are. We are determined to rise to the challenge and meet those expectations.”
November 18, 2014