Agenda item

Community litter picking groups

Chairman to seek assistance of forum members in establishing better communications between the various groups that have formed and our Environmental Services and Enforcement teams.

Minutes:

The Forum received a verbal presentation from the Environmental Services Manager regarding ongoing communications between the Council and litter picking groups. The Forum was advised of the following:

 

  • Tribute was paid to the good work that the Wombles Group, and community litter pickers across the District were undertaking.
  • Since 12 March 2021, 1,000 bags of litter had been picked up by the Spalding Wombles, and these had been collected by the Environmental Services Team from over 128 different locations.
  • In order to lessen the impact to the Environmental Services Team of collecting the additional rubbish, which was in addition to their existing collections, it was recognised that communication with the Wombles Group around the reporting of litter collections had to be improved.  The Forum was advised that this would be happening, and that a meeting had been arranged between the Environmental Services Team and one of the founders of the Spalding Wombles Group, to take place on Friday 26 March 2021.

 

Following this update, the following questions were raised:

 

·         Members asked whether a new option could be added to the ‘Report It’ function on the website for litter picking groups to report littering, rather than it being categorised under fly-tipping.

  • Officers confirmed that there was a currently an option under Street Cleansing, within the ‘Report It’ function, and that this should be used to report littering.

 

·         Members commented that the same areas were having to be repeatedly cleared, and questioned what the Council could do to educate the public about littering.

  • Officers responded that information that had been collected by the Wombles would help in identifying hotspots.  Differing methods of addressing littering would be employed, dependent on the issues that caused it in the respective areas.

 

·         Members suggested that residents who were part of litter picking groups could try to take the litter they had collected home with them if possible.

  • Officers responded that where possible, it would be useful for litter pickers to take rubbish home with them.  It was also requested that if leaving litter by bins, that the ‘Report It’ function on the website be used to identify it for collection.

 

·         Much work was being undertaken on many fronts to address the problem of littering, and tribute was again paid to volunteers who were assisting with this.  It was suggested that private businesses could be encouraged to also assist in efforts to keep the area clear of litter.

 

·         Members were concerned about the risks some members of the groups were taking when litter picking, particularly on the riverbank.

  • Officer responded that the Council had previously provided risk assessment templates to the litter picking groups and would use the meeting with the Wombles group later that week to provide safety advice and guidance to ensure that residents were not putting themselves at risk.

 

·         Members asked what guidance was being given out to litter picking groups outside of the Wombles group in relation to where to leave their collections and how to report them.

  • Officers confirmed that they had been in touch with other groups prior to the meeting to offer advice on safety, and how to report their collections in a way that would limit the impact on the Environmental Services Team, and which would work in conjunction with the system in place for the Wombles group.

 

·         Members enquired as to how much litter picking could be undertaken in or around the rivers.

  • Officers commented that this was a difficult area to advise on, due to where responsibilities lay (Local Authority or Environment Agency) but encouraged anyone who was looking to host a litter pick in these areas to contact the Environmental Services Team so that they could offer advice on risks and safety.

Officers also confirmed that previously the Council had worked with the Environment Agency to lower the water levels to allow more litter to be safely collected from the riverbanks.  Undertaking this work with partners in a pre-arranged way would be the safest and most effective way of addressing the issue.