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LITTERING: Council confirms new patrol plans

LITTERING: Council confirms new patrol plans

Image: LDRS

New uniformed wardens will be dispatched to dole out fines in Solihull’s littering hotspots amid concerns parks and public spaces are facing an “epidemic”.

There has been a fresh flurry of complaints in recent weeks, as lockdown restrictions have eased, that beauty spots are being blighted with rubbish.

Reports of fly-tipping and public bins brimming over with waste have also caused frustration, with the local authority facing calls to take further action.

At this week’s full council, it was confirmed that tougher measures, with teams deployed to problem areas borough-wide, were planned for later this year.

Highlighting concerns, Cllr Mark Wilson (Green, Smith’s Wood) said: “Eighty-five per cent of people see rubbish as the main issue that blights their area and Solihull is no different.

“What are the cabinet member’s plans to address the littering and fly-tipping epidemic in our borough so that we are ready for the eyes of the world to be upon is next year for the Commonwealth Games.”

Cllr Alison Rolf, cabinet member for stronger and safer communities, said the council was planning to contract a private team to carry out borough-wide patrols from the autumn.

“This will consist of uniformed wardens patrolling throughout the borough and with the ability to be targeted in those areas where demand is greatest,” she said.

The team will have the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to offenders and will also support community initiatives intended to combat the problem.

The contract is currently out to tender, with the intention that the new wardens are in place by October.

In the meantime, “highly visible” signs are being installed to deter the litter louts and a close eye was apparently being kept on local parkland, said to be the epicentre of issues in recent weeks.

Responding to Cllr Wilson’s comments that residents were increasingly concerned not enough was being done, Cllr Rolf said she would like to know of “any problems” with people feeling the council wasn’t acting on reports.

“Honestly I am absolutely with you in trying to get these things dealt with,” she said.

“If you have residents who feel their issues aren’t being dealt with please let me know … I will ensure they are looked into.”

In recent weeks there has been a flurry of concerns about litter, with more people flocking to outdoor spaces apparently adding to existing problems.

Lavender Hall Park, Elmdon Park and Olton Jubilee Park are among areas causing concern.

Nichola Hughes, from Chelmsley Wood, said litter was “out of control” in Meriden Drive.

“It feels like a losing battle,” she said. “There are no bins down our road – which I don’t think helps at all.”

Fellow resident Anita Robinson said: “I think if and when the bin men comes to collect the rubbish and they see items there they should also report it. Not just leave it to the residents.”

Linda Connor, on the Balsall Common Facebook Group, spoke of issues with cups, cans and other litter along Hodgetts Lane.
Asked about the council’s action-plan, she said: “I think any extra measures would be helpful.
“Wardens would be useful in some areas, but I don’t know how we prevent rubbish from being thrown from cars.”

While Katrina Shiers said: “Bins are not emptied often enough and more are needed.”

The council had also been pressed on this issue of overflowing containers at the same meeting, with some urging more regular checks.

Cllr Ken Hawkins, cabinet member for environment and highways, said the surge in demand was a UK-wide issue.

“We continue to increase resources to provide more litter-picking and litter bin emptying where needed,” he said.

“As I’ve said the whole nation has seen widespread visits to our parks … we ask people to take [the litter] home.”

Words: David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter

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