Council 'struggling' to clean streets?

PUBLISHED: 09:00 05 June 2016

Street litter

Street litter

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The council is 'struggling' to keep on top of Weston-super-Mare's litter problems, according to one councillor, who says the litter-picking system needs to overhauled.

Milton councillor Richard Tucker says the ward’s rubbish problem is getting worse.

He says the number of complaints and comments he receives from residents about untidy and litter-strewn footpaths, lanes and hedges has increased significantly since North Somerset Council reduced the number of street cleaners and litter-pickers as a result of Government funding cuts over recent years.

He said: “I sympathise with our council officers who have to manage non-directly-run street cleaning contractors on ever decreasing budgets and personnel to do the job.

“Understandably the situation has become increasingly reactive and one which the council is struggling more and more to keep on top of.”

He suggests the problem should be tackled by employing designated ward cleaning teams, and said: “Rather than having to stretch resources ever-thinner across the district, these staff would know and keep tidy their own designated areas on a daily basis, not pulled all around North Somerset.

“Certain jobs and equipment of course need to be deployed district-wide as part of the ongoing maintenance and management, although many people seem to agree that having permanently ward-based litter pickers for each area and more bins would definitely help address the problem.”

Under the previous system, all roads in North Somerset were on a cleaning schedule, but now budget constraints mean three compact road-sweepers and two lorry sweepers cover the entire road network.

A council spokesman said: “This inevitably means that some while roads are still cleaned according to a frequency – on a less frequent basis – others are not.

“This means we need to have a flexible approach to cover all cleaning requirements across the entire district to fulfil our statutory duties. This includes litter bins, dog bins, highway cleaning, fly-tipping, graffiti removal, road traffic collisions and other cleaning issues.

“As far as ward-based litter-pickers are concerned, the council, through our contractor, has a number of teams around the district which deal with cleaning issues on a day-to-day basis.”

The council is auditing bins across the district to see if they are in the most suitable places.

The spokesman added: “This means that we use our available resources more efficiently and bins that are constantly abused, vandalised or full of household waste can be managed appropriately. Providing bins in some locations can cause an adverse reaction by creating litter and being a focal point for fly-tipping.”

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