Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dealing with litter from or near takeaways

As a ward councillor one of the most common things people raise with me is litter.  And one of the most common places where this is a problem is near takeaways (also betting shops and ATM machines in some cases).   In Cressington ward the places where this is most obviously a problem are the parades where Mather Avenue and Heath Road meet, the Cenotaph area, and parts of Aigburth Road.  (I say most obviously.. but there are others)

Now not everybody chucks their drinks can and takeaway wrapper on the pavement.  But enough people do for it to become a problem.  And the sad fact is that the more takeaways we have, the more likely this is to happen (even though takeaway food shop owners are not the ones doing the dumping).

The City Council has made it clear that there isn't loads of extra money for street cleansing.  Quite the reverse in fact. So if we want our streets to be clean that means we need to use extra approaches (which can range from education, to campaigns, to peer pressure to legal action)

The Government (actually the Labour Government in part) gave Councils the power to do more to keep streets clean.  In fact Councils have the power to use something called a street litter control notice to get takeaway outlets (or betting shops or ATM owners if these are the source of the problem) to take responsibility for any litter outside that is obviously linked to their shop. 

It's a power that some Councils use.  Manchester and Leicester are two examples. 

But Liverpool is reluctant to do this.

At full Council last night I tried again (this has been a bit of an ongoing effort on my part) to get the administration to think again.  Surely, I thought, if money for street cleansing is tight then we need to be making more effort to look at what else can be done to keep people's street clean.

( I will say now that the Lib Dems did not use this power when in administration.  I wish we had.  I think we were wrong not to.  But this itself makes no difference to whether its right to do it now)

Sadly my proposals weren't supported by the Labour party.  I find it hard to understand why as frankly running a few pilot schemes in different parts of the City to do this wouldn't hurt and might actually make a big difference in some of our residential areas.

The motion I proposed is pasted below.

"Take aways and litter – Pride in Our (shopping) Parades and Street Litter control notices by Councillor Paula Keaveney

Council recognizes that litter is frequently caused by the sale of food and drink on the go and that research by the Tidy Britain Group (2011) has identified that nearly 60 percent of the litter on Liverpool streets can be attributed to this cause.

Council recognizes that very often opposition to new take away food outlets is based on a likely increase in litter and that experience of those living near take away outlets bears out the fact that this happens.

Council acknowledges that there are take away operators who take responsibility for their surroundings and who take measures to provide litter bins etc for their customers.

Nevertheless a quick tour around any part of the City near a take away would show that litter is still a problem.

Council believes that a two pronged approach is needed to deal with the problem of litter generated by the sale of food and drink on the go and that it is important to focus on residential neighbourhood areas as well as parts of the City Centre. This approach should encompass both proactive campaigning involving key stakeholders and the use of enforcement powers.

Council is aware that local authorities have the power ( under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as amended by the Clean Neighbourhoods Act 2005 )to issue street litter control notices to compel take aways and other outlets which can generate litter to remove litter that originates from their premises and is within a certain distance of it. Council believes that there are cases in which the use of this legislation would make a huge difference to the environment of people living or working near take away outlets.

Council is therefore surprised that, despite a working group set up in 2010 to look at this, the authority is not using these powers or publicizing the fact that these powers exist.

Council is aware of other authorities that either use, or highlight, these powers. These include Leicester, Manchester and Chichester.

Council believes that in an environment where money for services such as street cleansing is tight, every possible avenue should be explored to keep our streets clean

Council requests the Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change to give consideration for -

A Pride in our (shopping) Parades campaign to be launched in pilot areas around the city to bring together shopkeepers and residents to see what can be done voluntarily to reduce the litter emanating from take away outlets and other retail outlets. These areas should be selected on the recommendation of ward councillors and should be spread around Liverpool fairly.

The administration to begin to use street litter control notices and to consult ward councillors on locations in which this would make a difference to litter control

The publication of these existing legal powers on the City Council’s website so that residents can see what options are open to authorities, should they choose to take them.

1 comment:

PM Swimmer said...

Whilst I do think the council needs to look at strengthening the powers it has at its disposal to tackle this issue, I think its symptomatic of a wider malaise in the city and I do mean this city. I spend a lot of time in other UK cities and whilst litter is always a problem particularly round takeaways, there seems to be a growing culture of dropping rubbish everywhere. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen people dropping litter even whilst stood at the bin and I've even seen mothers telling their kids to just drop their sweet wrappers rather than walk 2 metres to the bin.
The trains are disgusting even though you regularly see ticket inspectors, cleaners and security on the train their still knee deep in filth most evenings yet the Tube in London rarely has much litter on it and its far busier in terms of trains and passengers and I've never seen a cleaner on them in the day.

Much that I hate the idea that I might be sounding like a right-wing daily mail-ite (or orange book Libdem) I think the Council, schools and even the cities media need to take the time to self critically ask whats gone wrong with us ?
Its all well and good getting annoyed when people outside the city mock it but something is rotten in our little city state and we need to sort it and its not just poverty, I've been to many poor places in the world where they would be appalled at the attitude to civic property, litter etc.

I don't know what the solution is but if we want businesses to invest in the city and people to move here and bring their families then Liverpool has to strive to be as pleasant a place to live as any other place in the UK and that means comparing ourselves to the best be that the nicest parts of London or Bath or pleasant suburban/ commuter areas of Surrey or Hampshire.