Merton Has England's Dirtiest Streets

Survey says many streets fell below acceptable level

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Merton has the dirtiest streets in England, with nearly half the relevant land and streets assessed falling below an acceptable level, according to a survey.

The GMB Congress was told that 49% of the borough's land and highways looked at in the survey had levels of detritus that took them below an acceptable level.

The survey, compiled by the GMB union, also found that 21% of Merton's land and highways assessed had unacceptable levels of litter.

But Merton council said the figures relate to 2008-9 and since then there has been an improvement. They have also invested in new street cleaning equipment and now adopt a more targeted approach.

Next in the league after Merton were Hounslow and North Hertfordshire where 44% of relevant land and highways assessed had deposits of detritus that fall below an acceptable level. 15% of streets in Hounslow, and 6% in North Hertfordshire, also had unacceptable of levels of litter.

Kensington & Chelsea, Slough and West Somerset had the cleanest streets in England. None of relevant land and highways assessed all 3 areas had deposits of detritus that fall below an acceptable level.

For all 345 councils in England 12% of relevant land and highways assessed had deposits of detritus that fell below an acceptable level while 5% had unacceptable of levels of litter. 129 councils in England had streets dirtier than the national average for detritus.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said: "Local communities deserve clean and healthy environments. GMB know that clean streets are perfectly feasible everywhere, it's just a matter of ensuring there are enough properly trained and equipped street cleaners employed to do the job.

"Councillors should be clear that for street cleaning, as for other public services, you get what you pay for. The next thing that failed politicians may come out with is that people, as well as paying their council tax, should clean the streets themselves."

Merton Council director of environment and regeneration Chris Lee said: “We have made huge strides to improve the cleanliness of our streets. The statistics are old news as they relate to 2008/9 and were released by Defra in October last year. Since then, much has changed in Merton. We are investing in new street cleaning equipment and always ensure the frequency of cleaning meets the needs of every street.

"We are also adopting a more targeted approach by monitoring street cleanliness every week so we can immediately report any areas which need attention to our street cleansing team. This is something we can never be complacent about, but we are predicting the 09/10 yearly figure will be much improved when the results are published. Looking to 2010/2011, we expect a further leap in improvement and we will continue to work to make our streets even cleaner.”

June 30, 2010