Agenda item



A report by the Strategic Director for Regeneration and Environment provided Members with an overview of significant changes made to Wirral Council’s street cleaning programme in July 2013 in order to implement £1 million savings proposal.


Tara Dumas, Environmental & Waste Services Manager and Gary Robinson, Representative from Biffa presented the report. It was reported that Wirral Council had worked closely with Biffa to redesign street cleansing as a means to assist the Council to meet budgetary challenge as a result of reduction in government grants.


Members were informed that the majority of the savings had been achieved through a reduction in frontline operatives. Street cleansing frequencies in most areas had been significantly reduced, with areas that had formally had a weekly cleanse now being reduced to 4 weekly and areas formally scheduled for a monthly cleanse now only being cleansed once every 12 weeks. Members heard that in order to mitigate the risk that some areas may not meet standards, agreement had been granted to fund a joint monitoring post in order for other members of the team to focus on more proactive work.


It was reported that through monitoring of the volumes of waste deposited in the Borough’s alleyways gave early indications that increasing the cleaning frequencies from 4 weekly to 12 weekly had reduced the amount of waste fly tipping by around 12%. It was suggested that through providing a more frequent waste cleansing service can inadvertently encourage some residents to dump their rubbish, in the knowledge that it will be dealt with.


Members then heard that the number of fly tips reported had reduced by 36% and there had been a number of prosecutions made against offenders.


It was reported that when the reduced cleansing facilities were first introduced, reports of overflowing litterbins significantly increased. Crews are now working closely with the Council to identify locations for additional or large litterbins and an ongoing installation programme is now underway.


It was explained that if Members were to endorse the recommendation contained in the report to use the remaining transitional funds (£124k) this would be spent upon behaviour changing initiatives. This would include the introduction of “environmental awareness workshops” for alleyway dumping and potentially littering offenders which will aim to provide Wirral with a better understanding of values and attitudes of offenders. Other initiates were set out in section 7.2 of the report.


A Member queried the impact of the reduction in frontline operatives that had represented 41 staff and 39% of the workforce.


In response, Mr Robinson explained that the service had remained constant and to a high standard.


A Member then queried penalty charges and the possibility of introducing a scheme whereby offenders are instructed to pick up litter.


It was explained there has been a wide range of research had been conducted into suitable deterrents for perpetrators. There is already a pool of volunteers who litter pick, this can be difficult to risk assess and is resource intensive.


A Councillor enquired about “gateway areas” and queried how often these areas are reviewed


It was explained that gateway areas are generally around areas such as motorway joining points, train stations and other investment areas.


Comments were raised regarding the need to educate some residents on recycling and it was reported that there will be four Recycling Officers in place to target specific areas and a programme of door knocking will begin shortly.


A Member raised a concern regarding rubbish being placed on the highway behind litter bins and enquired as to whether this issue was being targeted. Members heard from the Environmental and Waste Services Manager that as and when these issues are reported then an Officer will investigate the matter. Members where then reminded that legislation states that if rubbish is placed upon the floor then this is considered to be a “fly tip.”


The Chair thanked Officers for the report and bought to the Committees attention that this meeting had been the last for Tara Dumas, Environment and Waste Services Manager at Wirral Council. The Chair and Spokespersons commended Tara for all her excellent work within the Department and wished her well in her new position in her new authority.


Resolved: That the Committee:-


(1)  note the information provided in the report, including the recasting of the Waste Provisions budget as detailed in Section 7.1;


(2)  endorse the inclusion of the Annual Litter Reduction programme in the Waste and Environmental Service Plan and;


(3)  endorse the proposals to use the remaining transitional funds (£124k) to fund behaviour change initiatives over the next two years until March 2017.







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