Specialist Litter Enforcers Move Into Merton

Series of measures to cut down on local littering

A team of environmental "crime enforcers" are working in Merton to crack down on littering in the borough.

The initiative is one of a range of measures being introduced to reduce littering in the borough - including the community-backed Big Merton Street Clean this weekend (April 5 and 6).

The specialist environmental crime enforcers come from Kingdom Environmental Protection Services and they will be out-and-about in the borough with Merton Council's own litter enforcement officers.

Merton Council has also just completed its roll out of gum and cigarette butt bins. Merton Council cabinet member for environmental cleanliness, Councillor Judy Saunders, is pictured (right) with one of the new bins outside Colliers Wood station.

And it has installed new smart bins in four parks in the borough. The special bins use solar power to operate internal compactors which squash down the rubbish inside, increasing the capacity of each bin.

The same power is also used to send a signal to the street cleaning team to let them know when they are full.

The bins are in: The Chase, Wimbledon; Rookwood Avenue, West Barnes; Tramway Path and Northborough Road in Mitcham.

In another initiative,the council is calling on residents to be part of its Mega Recycle scheme. For eight weeks from April 23, a team of people will be knocking on residents' doors with special Merton Mega Recycle packs including information on what and how to recycle and a paper pledge form for people who prefer paper to online.

They will also hand residents a sticker to stick on their recycling boxes so the council's recycling crews can see who wants to be part of Merton's Mega Recycle. When residents sign the pledge, they also have an opportunity to nominate a primary school for a cash prize.

But Merton's Conservative Councillors have slammed all the anti-litter initiatives as a short term fix to try and clean up Merton's streets, dismissing it as "too little, too late".

Councillor Janice Howard, Conservative Environment Spokesman said: "Over the past four years, Labour has failed in its basic duty to keep our streets clean and tidy. Now, with an election just round the corner and residents telling them they are fed up with dirty and litter-strewn streets, they have panicked and are rushing out a raft of short term announcements.

"On street cleaning, as on a range of issues, Labour has no long term plan to deal with the problems, just temporary fixes. However, it's too little, too late and residents know it. That's why the Conservative alternative budget included proposals for an increase in permanent enforcement across the borough."

Merton Council cabinet member for environmental cleanliness Councillor Judy Saunders said: "Most of us are fed up with seeing people dropping litter on our streets. Every year we spend £5m cleaning our streets and our street cleansing teams are out around the clock, seven days a week picking up after the minority of people who throw their litter on the pavement.

"Working with Kingdom, we will be cracking down even more on littering and anyone caught dropping a cigarette butt, a sweet wrapper, or anything that should go into a bin, will be fined £75. It could be the most expensive cigarette or sweet they ever had."

Dan Goode of anti-litter campaign group Merton Matters, which is behind the Big Merton Spring Clean, said: "We welcome the council’s tough approach to littering. There is no excuse for dropping litter and if we can turn people away from littering and treat it as the stigma it really is, we'll all see a cleaner borough. Taking these tough measures should really make a difference."

April 4, 2014