A council report LINK confirms that despite improvements in recycling rates and the amount of waste going to landfill, that Brent streets are dirtier than a year ago.
In October last year the council made the following changes in street cleansing:
• Reduced frequency of sweeping from 2 to 1 weekly in zone 5The report admits:
• Reduced frequency of sweeping from 3 times per day to twice in zone 2
• Reduced frequency of sweeping in industrial areas from 7 to 2 weekly
• Removal of weekend afternoon shift
• Reduced weekday morning mechanical sweeping
• Reduced weekend morning cleansing.
Although Brent Council has focused on leafleting as a potential cause of litter during the Olympics (the statutory notices for the licensing scheme are currently posted around the borough) it is clear that there is a residual problem as a consequence of the cuts and what seems to me an increase in fly-tipping and street corner depositing of surplus residential 'grey bin' waste. At the same time the council has cut the Streetwatchers Scheme through which local residents informed Streetcare of fly-tipping and uncollected waste.The cleansing reductions led to deterioration in some areas.Compared to 2010/11:
- The number of streets showing a less than acceptable level of litter increased by 5 percentage points.
- The number of streets showing a less than acceptable level of detritus increased by 6 percentage points
The report concludes:
The consequence of less frequent cleansing in some areas is that streets are less tidy. Officers have embarked on a programme of engagement with councillors and community groups to understand local concerns and to develop solutions.Would one solution be the reintroduction of more frequent street cleaning and the reinstatement of the Streetwatchers scheme? It is important that the council gets this right before the waste services contract goes out to tender next year.
The news is better on recycling although it would be useful to know the post-process figures as well as those given on pick-up rates from the blue bins. How much of the material in blue bins is ultimately recycled and how much after sorting still goes into landfill as the result of contamination or the inclusion of non-recyclables in the blue bins?
The council puts forward plans to increase the amount of waste recycled or composted from the present 41% to 52%:
High – High Output (+8 percentage points)1. Improve recycling of collected bulky waste.2. Maximise output from food waste collections by providing caddy liners/replacement caddies.3. Bid for funding to introduce food waste collections at flats4. Replace/remove excess landfill bins.5. Introduce alternate weekly collections at appropriate flats.6. Extend recycling provision at flats above shops.7. Review and improve resident engagement programme.8. Advertise availability of additional blue-topped bins.9. Comprehensive communications plan for 2012/13, with more frequent reissue of collection calendar and service information.Medium – High Input, Less Output (+3 percentage points)10. Review and improve bring bank network.11. Identify options for recycling street cleansing waste.12. Remove trade waste from street cleansing waste.13. Install in-cab devices to report non-collection issues.14. Re-use shops / third sector collectionsLow – Low Output (+0.5 percentage points)15. Recycle waste collected at events.16. Enhanced waste reduction initiatives – real nappies, junk mail, homecomposting.17. Investigate a borough-wide recycling incentive scheme.18. Collect food waste from schools.19. Take advantage of pan-London textile framework.20. Dedicated Olympic recycling programme for the games period in August.21. Provide collection points for small electronic equipment.22. Improve collection arrangements and range of materials at Re-use and Recycling centre.