Fly tipping and Environmental Actions in Benwell

 

Fly Tipping / Environmental Actions – Benwell

  • Community Meetings – There are monthly residents meetings attended by police and partners to discuss issues within the area. As environmental / littering issues were being frequently raised the North Benwell Environmental Meeting was arranged as a standalone meeting to discuss concerns. This was attended by police, residents, community co-ordinator from the City Council and also local councillors. Other invited persons included local environmental enforcement officers and representatives from Envirocall however neither attended on the day.
  • Funding Bids – Police have provided support and advice to the North Benwell residents group regarding a lottery funding bid (Greener Spaces) which is something the neighbouring Wingrove Ward has successfully applied for in the past. In addition Sue Wannop (Community Co-ordinator) is working the residents to seek funding streams to support a co-ordinated long term programme of community based events. This will include education / engagement / reward schemes / diversionary activities / enforcement tactics.
  • Community Clean Up Days – This year police and partners have ran events in conjunction with residents. Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) funded skips, police arranged the community pay back scheme to assist and Police Community Support Officers (CSOs) conducted door to door visits to educate residents re the impact of fly tipping, littering and appropriate waste disposal methods in the worst affected areas.
  • Leaflet Distribution – CSOs distributed letters to households in local hot spot areas warning of enforcement action should any resident be found littering / fly tipping.
  • Fixed Penalty Notice Enforcement – Feedback from street wardens shows that enforcement action was temporarily suspended due to health and safety issues and wardens were instructed by their management not to go through rubbish bags to identify offenders until a new risk assessment process had been drafted. At the start of December this was addressed and within the last month 6 enforcement tickets have issued.
  • Landlord Enforcement – The Public Protection and Neighbourhood Team from Newcastle City Council have also taken enforcement action. 13 landlords were served notices instructing them to clean the exterior of their properties of which 6 of the notices were complied with. 2 are still ongoing / live cases and 5 failed to respond to the letters. As a result letters under caution were sent to the 5 who had not engaged.       Of the 5, 2 adhered to the warning and cleared their yards. The remaining 3 are having prosecution files prepared.
  • School Education – To educate the next generation CSOs have been attending local schools and giving inputs regarding the consequences of littering and the need to respect your community.
  • Licensing Objections – A proportion of the accumulating litter is alcohol related. 8 new licensing applications have been objected to and denied by police / Council.
  • High Visibility Patrols – Officers deployed on foot and in vehicles to target vehicles likely to be used for high volume fly tipping.
  • Fire Brigade Partnership Working – Police and local fire brigade have stickered all bins left out in hot spot areas warning them that they could become an arson risk and instructing residents to keep the bins in secure yards where possible to prevent items falling from them / being pushed over etc
  • Additional Enforcement Officers- x2 new enforcement officers have been recruited by Newcastle City Council and they will predominantly work within the Benwell area educating residents and increasing prosecution levels to act as a deterrent.
  • Local Businesses – Local Councillors have undertaken visits to businesses on West Road to remind them of their community responsibilities regarding responsible rubbish storage, removal and disposal.
  • Neighbourhood Policing Priority Status – As a result of community concern the issue of littering and fly tipping was made a local neighbourhood policing priority and as a result the activity, engagement and partnership working as outlined above undertaken. This also demonstrates to local residents that their concerns have been heard and activity undertaken to address their issues. Minutes from environmental meeting praise local community police officers for their efforts and commitment.
  • Bin Collection Issues – Residents have raised concerns that the now two weekly bin collections result in litter and rubbish accumulating in greater quantities and being left in situ for longer. These concerns have been passed onto the Council.

The Environmental meeting has proved a good engagement tool to ascertain resident concerns and identify specific hot spots areas as well as a forum to inform residents of police and partner activity.

It is recognised that further engagement / communication is required with residents to re assure them action is being taken to address their issues.  In order to do this a leaflet is being developed to outline activity taken to date and to provide them with key information regarding reporting offences and key telephone numbers to contact regarding rubbish clearances etc These will be distributed to households within the terraces early 2015.

With the newly funded enforcement officers it is expected that an increased level of enforcement action will be undertaken which should send a positive message to both residents and offenders alike.

One thought on “Fly tipping and Environmental Actions in Benwell

  1. Rachael Streather

    Dear Chi Onwurah,

    Whilst I appreciate you becoming involved with the huge problem we are having with litter, this document is hopeless.

    To leave the issue of bin collection and council involvement to a brief final paragraph shows both a lack of understanding and the continuing unwillingness of the council to do their job. The council has a statutory duty, under Section 89 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, to ensure that land is kept clear of litter.

    Much of the litter originates from overfilled, blown over or rooted through bins, or from rubbish bags left by residents and businesses that either don’t have bins or don’t understand the refuse collection system.

    Regardless of who leaves rubbish, or why, it is the councils statutory duty to clear it. This includes clearing the streets and green areas of dropped litter and emptying street bins. Lack of funds does not negate a statutory duty.

    The ridiculously poor service given by the council has led to the awful state of our area.I notice that Envirocall did not come to the meeting! Are they at all involved in trying to find a solution?

    Rachael Streather

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