Using litter bins could save taxpayers nearly £4m
Published: Wednesday 17th April 13
The council has a launched a new anti-litter campaign after new figures showed that the bill for picking up waste dumped on the street is costing local taxpayers nearly £4m a year.
The council has unveiled a raft of new initiatives to try and combat the problem and save residents money. It currently costs council tax payers in the borough £3.8m a year to clean up litter.
As part of efforts to reduce this bill, the council is now using a fleet of modern, brand new energy efficient vehicles to clean up litter from the streets.
It is also stepping up enforcement action against individual litter bugs and also against local shops and businesses that try to save money by unlawfully dumping their waste on the highway.
And it is embarking on a new public awareness campaign to bring the message home to the general public, with the town hall's environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook explaining: "What we are trying to do is make sure that Wandsworth's streets remain amongst the cleanest in London.
"We will of course go on picking up all the litter that's deposited on our streets because we take great pride in the borough's appearance, but we also want to get across the huge cost of this task and encourage those people who do drop litter to stop and instead use the many bins that can be found all over the borough.
"Every year around 7,000 tonnes of waste is chucked on the ground or dumped on street corners. This is costing local taxpayers millions of pounds a year to deal with.
"Families that are already struggling to pay rising food and fuel bills do not need this unnecessary burden. If the litter isn't dropped in the first place then we won't have to spend huge sums clearing it up and these savings can be passed directly on to local people through lower council tax bills."
A recent crackdown outside Tooting Broadway station nabbed nine people who were all spotted throwing litter on the ground. They were each given an £80 on-the-spot fine. If any haven't paid after 28 days they will be summonsed to appear in court where they could be fined up to £2,500.
And six local businesses have recently been fined by magistrates for failing to comply with litter laws that require them to show that they have lawfully disposed of their commercial waste. These included an estate agent, a newsagent, a hairdresser, a take-away and two restaurants.
All six pleaded guilty to breaching the Environmental Protection Act and were ordered to pay fines and court costs totalling £3,661.
The council carries out regular spot checks on commercial premises in the borough to make sure they are complying with waste and litter laws. 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.
In order to keep town centre streets clean, the council has 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
Businesses can find full details about their legal responsibilities at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/waste.
Find out what to do if people see rubbish being dumped or flytipped.