By Rosanna Currans.
Conservative Councillor for Brent and former Mayor.
You and I don’t drop litter so what is it that makes some people feel that it’s OK to do it?
Litter has become a big problem in towns, cities and villages across the country and Dartford is no different.
Like me, you probably grew up with simple lessons from home and school about how to dispose of litter properly. Find a bin or take your litter home.
Sadly, I’m sure we have all seen examples of people ruining our streets, our parks and our countryside by leaving litter.
The council simply can’t stand by and let this happen. We spend a small fortune clearing up after people and it’s just not fair on the huge majority of decent, sensible people who do the right thing. We’re taking the issue seriously – installing new bins, maintaining our street sweeping rounds and responding quickly when rubbish is dumped but there’s no doubt that litterers need to take responsibility – or be forced to – for their anti-social behaviour.
We knew that employing litter enforcement officers wasn’t going to be popular with everyone but after two and a half years on our streets the facts make interesting reading.
We issue more than 3,000 litter fines a year but we’ve not issued a ticket to the same person TWICE! Now, that’s either a huge coincidence or proof that the fines deter littering. And while some people who’ve been fined might moan, lotsof people tell us that they appreciate why the officers are there. If we’re going to win the war against litter our sympathy surely ought to be with the people working to stop it rather than the lazy few who drop it.
Our War against Litter
Dartford’s invested in more street bins in more places and we’re emptying them frequently. If you see a bin overflowing then let us know. We’ll try to get it
emptied so there’s no excuse for littering.
Some Councils have cut street sweepers but Dartford Council supports a highly visible and hard working street team in and around the town.
We empty street bins anything from daily to weekly but sometimes they get full so we’ve got a ‘hit squad’ to deal with them. Call 01322 343434 if you spot a bin in need of emptying.
It’s much better to tackle the source of waste rather than chase around dealing with the impacts. We’re asking every store and business to think about packaging and how they can help customers dispose of it responsibly.
This could be anything from clearing rubbish from a patch of land near where you live or joining one of the wonderful community litterpicks organised by brilliant volunteers. Councils don’t rely on people to help in this way but we’re very grateful when they do.
We thought long and hard before introducing litter enforcement officers to Dartford’s streets because we knew they could prove controversial. Of course, no-one likes receiving a fine so their work isn’t always welcomed by those they deal with but after more than two years the fact is that we’ve yet to have a SINGLE person receive a second Fixed Penalty Notice so it certainly appears to be a useful deterrent. In truth, we would love not to need enforcement officers but for as long as people drop litter or thoughtlessly flick away fag butts then they are required. There’s a simple way to avoid a fine. If you don’t drop litter, you won’t get one! Please join us in Dartford’s War against Litter. We all have a part to play.