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‘Love where you live’ and keep the streets rubbish-free, pleads cabinet member

‘Love where you live’ and keep the streets rubbish-free, pleads cabinet member

🕔25.Feb 2015

With little more than two months to go before the local government elections Birmingham city council’s Labour leadership is on the offensive over an issue that could cost votes and seats, reports Paul Dale.

Rubbish has been promoted to the top of the agenda, or more specifically the “littering and fly-tipping that is spoiling our beautiful city”, to quote cabinet member Lisa Trickett.

Cllr Trickett, who holds the green, smart and sustainable city portfolio, is inviting all 40 council wards to draw up cleaner streets plans based on a “love where you live” approach to life.

She’s also promised to crackdown by taking legal action against households and businesses who dispose of bags of rubbish on the streets and in hedgerows rather than leaving them for collection or taking them to a recycling plant.

During a TidyBrum summit at St Modwen’s Longbridge offices Cllr Trickett and senior council officers heard from community groups in Stockland Green and Soho about what they feel needs to be done to make their areas cleaner and greener. Cllr Trickett said:

The number one priority for residents is cleaner streets – we have heard that message and are determined to do everything we can as a council to help achieve it.

But this can only be done if everyone plays a part. We all need to take a stand against the littering and fly-tipping that is spoiling our beautiful city.

We must all love where we live, at a street-by-street, neighbourhood and city-wide level if we are to enjoy tidy streets. The ward-by-ward plans will help devise relevant local strategies for their own areas.

With the spring gardening season just weeks away, council leaders are watching nervously to see whether there will be a repeat of last year’s mass fly-tipping of garden waste by householders who refuse to pay a £35 annual fee for green waste collection. The issue was said to have cost Labour support at the 2013 council elections.

Wards will be asked to present their initial local plans to the council in the coming months so they can then be finalised later this year.

In her annual report to the connectivity and sustainability scrutiny committee, Cllr Trickett revealed details of work taken to tackle the “scourge of uncontrolled waste and fly-tipping in Birmingham”.

The council’s waste enforcement unit has dealt with 900 requests for assistance six months. It is investigating 94 cases of dumped commercial waste with a view to bringing prosecutions.

A total of 46 notices have been issued to traders, requiring the businesses to provide details of how they dispose of their waste. A total of eight commercial fixed penalty notices have been issued where firms have failed to comply with that demand.

More than 70 households have been fined for putting out rubbish before 3.30pm on the day before collection, increasing the chances of spillage and rat infestation.

Cllr Trickett added:

The formation of our waste enforcement unit shows we will not tolerate the actions of an extremely small minority of people that have no regard for the upkeep of our city.

This is just the start of our effort to bring those responsible to justice. We will leave no stone unturned to make sure our city looks as attractive as possible.

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