More officers authorised to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to continue tackling littering and fly tipping in Swansea

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Scrutiny Councillors have praised the hard work of staff involved in litter and community cleansing, dealing with unprecedented amounts of litter and working under restrictions due to the pandemic.

At a recent meeting, the Scrutiny Programme Committee focused on ‘Litter and Community Cleansing’ which falls under the portfolio of Cllr Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment Enhancement & Infrastructure Management.

The Committee heard that the Service is still catching up and extra staff have been employed to deal with issues and improve the service.

Regarding Litter and Waste Enforcement, Committee Members noted the difficulties around enforcement when having to catch people in the act, but welcomed news that more officers have been trained to become authorised to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to anyone they witness dropping litter or failing to pick up their dog’s waste.

The Council’s ‘Don’t be a Tosser’ campaign against litter was praised by the Committee for grabbing people’s attention but the Committee felt that more public messaging is needed to deter people from littering and to show how serious the Council is about litter.

Committee Members discussed the Council’s Corporate Priority on ‘Maintaining and Enhancing Swansea’s Natural Resources and Biodiversity’ and were pleased with the recognition that tackling and reducing litter has a direct impact on the enhancement and growth of plant and animal species. The Committee asked to what extent beach litter is considered and how the public are made aware of the impact on the environment of their littering.

Cllr Thomas explained that there has been no specific local PR activity about litter and wildlife however national and local media reporting has helped to educate people and change behaviour. He agreed to look at what the Council could do to alert people to the impact of litter on wildlife.

The Committee heard about the Local Environmental Audit & Management System Survey (LEAMS), which is used across Wales for Councils to grade the cleanliness of their streets. It was independently verified by Keep Wales Tidy which enabled comparison with other Welsh Councils.

The Committee was pleased to hear that Swansea ranked very well with comparable authorities, with 96.4% of streets graded B or above which meant they were predominantly free of litter and refuse.  Committee Members discussed the difficulty however, in measuring performance and reliance on the survey given that councillors commonly receive complaints about litter.

Cllr Mark Thomas will provide the Committee with more information about the LEAMS survey to help improve understanding of this work and its use.

The Committee also discussed the use of Councillor Community Budgets in certain wards for additional cleaning services and the impact this has on overall service delivery across other Council areas. Cllr Thomas assured the Committee that any services being paid for from community budgets were for additional work, above the standard cleaning regime delivered by the Council and did not reduce the level of service provision in other areas.

The Committee requested for more information to be circulated to all councillors for awareness of the opportunities for additional cleansing and costs involved.

Click here to view more about what was discussed at this meeting.

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