Steve Reed MP: Locals won’t put up with rubbish service

STEVE REED, the MP for Croydon North, explains why he’s organised a commission to examine the grotty state of the borough’s streets, and how Croydon Council has broken its social contract with residents and businesses

There is a litter crisis in Croydon North.

Steve Reed is unimpressed by the state of Croydon's streets

Local MP Steve Reed is unimpressed by the state of Croydon’s streets

Litter and the filthy state of local streets is the issue that people raise most frequently at my regular public meetings.  People complain about unswept streets, dumped rubbish piled up high, overflowing wheelie bins, dog mess and graffiti.

One woman in Thornton Heath told me the situation was so bad she feels ashamed to invite friends and relatives to visit her home. No one should be left to feel like that about where they live. A senior business leader stated in public that the filthy state of Croydon’s streets deters investment that could bring desperately needed jobs into the area.

People in Croydon pay one of the highest rates of council tax in London, but Croydon Council can’t keep the streets clean.  This can’t go on.

I’m as fed up as everyone else at the council’s failure to respond to residents’ complaints about the state of our streets.  The council seems unable to understand the scale of the problem and incapable of acting to improve the sub-standard street-cleaning service they run.

This week I’ve set up an independent commission to probe what’s going wrong and how it can be put right. The commission, chaired by local community leader Nero Ughwujabo, will listen to residents, businesses and community organisations to find out just how bad the problem has become, what’s causing it and, crucially, what needs to happen to clean up local streets. The final report will be presented to Croydon Council before the end of the year, and it will include clear recommendations for action.

The commission’s website allows residents to submit evidence including pictures and their own thoughts on the state of local streets.

Overflowing bins, due to Croydon's fortnightly collections, help to create the environment that leads to the filthy state of our streets

Overflowing bins, due to Croydon’s fortnightly collections, help to create the environment that leads to the filthy state of our streets

Neighbouring boroughs, with populations and housing very similar to Croydon North, are visibly cleaner. The leafy south of our own borough looks much better kept than the neglected north. Of course, it’s not only the council’s failing services that are at fault – after all, it’s not the council that drops the litter in the first place. But the council has broken its side of the implicit social contract by letting the streets get so filthy that too many people no longer care about dropping their own litter into the dirty environment they see around them.

Where the council is clearly at fault is in imposing a fortnightly collection service on a densely populated community, which often leaves the bins overflowing. They do not consistently prosecute the worst-offending fly tippers. They don’t serve enough clean-up notices on households that use their front gardens as dumping grounds. They don’t tackle the grot spots that regularly attract piles of dumped rubbish. 

Keeping the streets clean is a basic council service that other councils do far better. It’s time to tell Croydon’s Tory council that local people won’t put up with their rubbish services any longer.

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3 Responses to Steve Reed MP: Locals won’t put up with rubbish service

  1. davidcallam says:

    Who inspects the refuse collectors? How often are they inspected? What penalties exist within the present collection contract? How often are those penalties implemented?
    Once we have the answers to those questions, we will know why Croydon does so badly and how we can improve the performance.

  2. It is time for traders to take responsibility and keep our city clean.
    If people don’t recycle there will be overflowing bins.

  3. ClearItWaste says:

    Very useful post. Thanks for sharing.

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