Using litter bins could save taxpayers millions
Published: Friday 24th October 14
The council has 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 using a fleet of modern, brand new energy efficient vehicles that sweep and “hoover” up litter.
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 either use one of the many street bins that can be found all over the borough or alternatively take it home and put in their own dustbin.
“Council tax payers are having to fund a clean-up operation that costs millions of pounds a year. Families that are already struggling to pay their 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.”
In the past 12 months nearly 800 people have faced legal action for breaching environmental protection laws. Ten who were caught dropping litter near Tooting Broadway and Clapham Junction stations and thought they could wriggle out of paying their £80 fixed penalty notices ended up in front of magistrates last month where they were all heavily fined. The average fine and court costs they ended up having to pay was £383.
The council also 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 as clean as possible, 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.
If people see rubbish being dumped or flytipped, email firstname.lastname@example.org.