Following yesterday’s devastating exposé of Bexley Council’s ‘Don’t be a Tosser’
campaign, Conservative Councillors will be rushing to distance themselves from the
repercussions. First off the block was Conservative Louie French (Falconwood & Welling) who put out
a long but conciliatory announcement
on his Twitter feed.
Those of us who attend Council meetings know that littering and fly tipping in Bexley is a worse problem than the Council will admit to and it is difficult to argue that chasing offenders is not a good idea. On the other hand those same Council meetings have revealed that a profit must be made from litter enforcement. That is why around 1,200 people were quickly fined in the centre of Bexleyheath and only three in the whole of Thamesmead and Abbey Wood.
A busy town centre means easy pickings and an almost deserted Wilton Road does not. The Council says that litter enforcement is all about the footfall, which translates to it’s all about the money.
Despite their claims to the contrary and a couple of headline catching improvements, Bexley Council has reduced its street cleaning budget for this year and next.
Labour Councillors have no need to run away from an exposé of the cheating and entrapment methods employed by Bexley Council’s chosen contractor and they too have issued a statement as follows.
16 May 2017
Bexley Labour calls for investigation into litter enforcement allegations
Bexley’s Labour Councillors have asked for an urgent investigation into claims on the BBC’s Panorama programme that the council’s litter enforcement contractor offers an incentive scheme to its staff and has failed to follow DEFRA guidelines when issuing enforcement notices.
Speaking after the programme, Cllr Danny Hackett, Parliamentary Candidate for Old Bexley and Sidcup said “Nobody condones littering, but some shocking footage has emerged as part of this Panorama investigation of excessive and irresponsible behaviour from the enforcement officers. We have asked council officers to review the training these officers are provided.”
Cllr Stef Borella, Parliamentary candidate for Bexleyheath and Crayford said “It is clear that following seven years of austerity, the council feels the only option open to it is to use an enforcement contractor focusing on offences involving cigarettes and spitting, while ignoring other litter offences. This decision has been taken in an attempt to hide the reductions to the street cleansing budget of £105,000 in the 2017/18 budget and £340,000 in 2018/19.”
For the record; Labour Councillors moved a budget amendment Motion in March 2017 asking the Council to advise the Cabinet to reconsider its cuts to local street cleansing budgets. The motion was defeated with the support of Conservative and UKIP councillors.
Current figures show that 2,232 (97%) of the 2,290 recorded offences from October 2016 to February 2017 involved dropping a cigarette or spitting. The remaining 68 or 3% of offences involved dog fouling and all other litter offences. Some of the figures were reported on BiB a month ago. For more detail see page 2 of this PDF file.