Question 01/21

Question:

The issue of litter and fly tipping seems to be getting worse across the county and along all the roads and verges. When will the council working with county and local stakeholders start to address this issue with a joined up approach including enforcement, clearance and education. It’s bad for wildlife, residents and visitors and surely we can do better as a district and county. My understanding was that the new waste and cleansing contract with the new provider Biffa was going to address this, obviously it’s not been the case given the levels of litter. Time to bring in house again rather than outsourcing where motivation is to do as little as legally possible?? (24/12/2020)

Answer:

Thank you for your enquiry and I am sorry that you have felt the need to raise your query regarding litter.

It is true to say that Rother District Council has seen an increase in fly tipping in 2020 compared to 2019. This increase, along with an increase in domestic household waste in general, has been mirrored in many areas across the UK and is considered to be due to a variety of reasons brought about by COVID restrictions.  As people have been, and are continuing to work from home and shop online, this is generating more waste at the kerbside which is not being properly disposed of by residents despite the best efforts of the waste collections contractor, Rother Council officers and East Sussex County Council.  Issues with queues at household waste recycling facilities due to social distancing has unfortunately deterred some people from using these sites who then choose to fly tip instead.  When feasible and appropriate, fly tips are checked by council officers for evidence to identify who may be the offender. Unfortunately it is rare to find sufficient evidence to prosecute offenders.

Litter picking along verges on fast trunk roads is highly regulated for health and safety reasons and road closures and traffic controls are required before litter picking can be completed. We work closely with the waste contractor and East Sussex Highways to obtain the necessary permits and traffic management to litter pick these roads and verges on an annual basis, and Biffa are planning and applying for the necessary permissions to complete this work throughout 2021, as they did in 2020.

Litter picking and street cleansing on 30 mile per hour roads and town roads are completed according to their intensity of use which are pre-determined as either high, medium or low intensity and the contractor is required to cleanse the road according to the corresponding Litter Code. Officers independently check litter compliance on a routine basis and raise requests for one-off litter picks as required.

We also have the standard of street cleansing surveyed every 4 months by an independent consultant to determine if standards set out by the Litter Code are being met. However it is always useful to have feedback from residents too, who are often our eyes and ears out in the district, so please report any particular concerns you may have using our website.

Ultimately we need to work to change the culture so that litter does not arise in the first place.  We are working with Councillors in January 2021 to focus on litter arising from fast food take-aways in Bexhill, and we are hoping to work with the charitable organisation WRAP who are launching a new initiative to improve litter bin styles, locations and their use to reduce litter. We can always do more and so we will continue to work with our partners on social media messaging, posters and leaflets to influence people to dispose of their litter responsibly. (05/01/021)