Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Croydon Street Litter and Fly-tipping Issue Hots Up

North Croydon Streets Commission.
To submit evidence go to its website at

The state of litter and fly-tipping in Croydon’s streets was a running theme throughout Monday night’s Croydon Council meeting, showing how both parties see this is a major issue leading up to the local elections in May.

Attack on Labour Leader Newman

A question from a member of the public Andrew Stevenson enabled Cabinet Member for Highways & Environmental Services Cllr Phil Thomas to personally attack Labour Leader Mike Newman alleging that he had stated he would not report fly-tipping.  This one of several personal attacks on Newman. Failing to act as an impartial Chair the Mayor did not give him a right of reply, even when requested from the public gallery.

Allocation of Additional Resources

 Thomas’s written answer to Stevenson’s explained the allocation of additional resources to tackle fly-tipping and other environmental violations.

·     £200,000 has been allocated ‘to increase the capacity of the Enforcement team in order that they may increase the attention given to fly tipping offences and other environmental violations. The Council is currently undertaking a restructure to fulfil this objective. It is expected that this additional money will allow for 4 additional officers.’
·      A further £30,000 ‘will be spent on staff overtime and a specific fly tipping programme which establishes a number of preventative measures including additional CCTV cameras, alley gates, additional bins and other preventative measures.’

 Fly-tipping in Waddon

Joy Prince, one of Labour’s Waddon prospective candidates for the local elections Joy Prince submitted a question about fly-tipping between Borough Hill and Harrison’s Rise and wondering what proactive action’ the Council intended to take ‘to catch, or at least deter, the persistent officer(s).  Cllr Thomas explained that the Area Enforcement Team (AET) had visited the area and made arrangements to get the area cleared. ‘Both of these roads are swept weekly, and as such any items would be removed as part of this cleans. The team will undertake regular patrols though to ensure that it stays tidy and try and identify anybody that is depositing waste illegally.’ While the area ‘does not flag up as a particular hotspot for fly tipping … we will keep this under review through the ongoing patrols and if there is a regular pattern emerging at this location the team can employ a number of measures a such as signage, door knocks and letter drops to inform residents of the correct way to dispose of their waste and seek further information on who may be responsible. If necessary the team can also undertake surveillance and install CCTV.’

North Croydon Streets Commission

Part of the Party wrangling has been triggered by Croydon North Labour MP Steve Reed setting up the Independent Streets Commission. Labour Leader Tony Newman asked Tory Leader Mike Fisher when he would plan to give evidence to Croydon’s independent streets commission. Fisher denied it was independent.
·     ‘I am aware that the Labour Member for Croydon North, Steve Reed MP, has sponsored a commission in North Croydon, the website for which states that he is also a panel member.’

·     ‘I understand that this same commission is being promoted by Labour Councillors and do, correct me if I am wrong here, this is the same commission that Councillor Newman said in this very chamber would “shame the Tories into action”.’

·      ‘I am aware of that commission but I am not aware of an independent streets commission.’

The Pilot Role of Kingdom Security

A series of Councillor tabled questions have enabled Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Public Protection Cllr Simon Hoar to explain the purpose and results so far of the 6 months pilot scheme using Kingdom Security for six months to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for such offences as litter. This contract started in August, with the company’s workers operating in the Town Centre.

Hoar explains:
·     that the pilot increases the number of officers on the street and helps to keep the Borough clean at no cost to the Council’s existing Area Enforcement Officers (AEOs) have not been replaced and are still issuing Fixed Penalty Notices for littering and fly tipping.

·     It is ‘additional to the AEO’s and is designed to be cost neutral to the Council.

·     For each £75 FPN that is legitimately issued the Council pay the contractor £45. Each monthly invoice therefore varies due to the number of FPNs that have been issued’

·      ‘The pilot clearly supports both parties’ interest as we are receiving additional enforcement officers to help keep Croydon clean and save money on clearing up litter.’ 

Number of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs)

1,571 FPNs were issued in the Town Centre by Kingdom: cigarette litter 1,446, dog control order offences 3, food waste 13, and other litter/printed material 109.

The AET has issued 232 FPNs since 1 April, including one dog control order offence and 40 for fly tipping.

‘1030 of these fines have been paid to date although many of the fines issued in the last few weeks will legitimately not have been paid yet as people have 28 days to settle the fine. The monthly payment rate is consistently around 65%. In total 255 appeals have been received with 15 of those upheld and the fine written off.’

‘The low level of fines’ of for dog control offences ‘reflects how difficult it is for officers to catch people letting their dogs to foul and not clearing up after them.’ ‘Any funding that it available after Kingdom has been paid for their work will be used to fund prosecutions against people who have not paid the FPN. It is too early in the pilot to determine whether there will be any surplus income in addition to this but if there is it will be reinvested in environmental projects and improvements such as signage, bins or preventative activity.’

‘The Council have now appointed solicitors to act on its behalf, prepared the case files, and will be prosecuting the first batch of 50 people in early December.’

‘There are plans to deploy’ the Kingdom ‘team to various district centres by early December.’

How to report problems

Finally Cllr Phil Tomas explained that Councillors can report fly tipping, potholes, etc in their Wards in the same way as members of the public.

·         Tel: 020 8726 6200

·         Via the report it section on www.croydon.gov.uk

‘The Council is also about to launch a reporting ‘app’ for use on mobile phones whereby many requests can be photographed and uploaded and will be automatically passed on to the correct team for a response.’

‘For more complex or longstanding issues Councillors should continue to go directly to the relevant officers so that they can investigate and ensure that the service is providing the best possible response.’
Meanwhile in Norbury Ward
The four local residents associations are continuing to work with Council officers to reduce the amount of non-contract trade waste and other letter left on the pavements, re-location and provision of extra bins, the refuse disposal problems of residents living in flats over shops and other issues.  A walk along Norbury High Rd stretch of London Rd took place on Saturday November.

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