Croydon North’s MP, Steve Reed OBE, has called Croydon Council’s utter failure to act on fly tipping across the borough as “scandalous”.
Reed’s comments come in response to the latest figures of Croydon’s utter inactivity over the state of our streets, in a report from DEFRA, the Department of the Environment, which showed that Croydon has prosecuted fewer than 1 in 100 reported cases of fly tipping in the latest year for which figures are available.
Tory-run Croydon’s inadequacies and incompetences in this area have become so bad, even the ever loyal Sadvertiser has started to borrow our headlines about the council being a load of old rubbish.
As Inside Croydon reported earlier this month, Croydon tries to disguise its failures in its key functions – including keeping our streets clean – simply by failing to publish them and hoping that no one notices.
For instance, Croydon avoids reporting annual figures for “street litter” and “street detritus”. And while it produces something called “Your Croydon Counts” (not a printing error), Croydon does not use it to report on any street scene indicators.
But the local authority still has certain legal duties with which to comply, and reporting to DEFRA on aspects of its environmental policies is among those. It is through this DEFRA report that Croydon’s failures have been exposed once again. The report can be accessed here.
Council leader Mike Fisher (annual “allowances” as a councillor £53,223) and his majority Conservative group clearly realise that they have been failing badly in this area. Somewhat belatedly, the council announced recently a whole additional £100,000 to deal with the rubbish state of our streets. Anyone might think there’s an election coming up…
But this is not a short-fix problem for Croydon.
Inside Croydon reported in September that incidents of fly tipping in the borough have more than doubled since florid-faced Fisher and his complacent Conservatives chums were re-elected to the Town Hall in 2010. And that’s just those cases where residents have actually been able to get through on the council’s phone lines to report the piles of garbage left festering on their doorsteps.
We have reached a situation where the Tory-run council’s decision to go to fortnightly bin collections, the scrapping of its street scene programme and allowing its rubbish contractors to monitor their own performance (seriously) have created a perfect shit storm on our streets.
And the figures from DEFRA show that in reality, Croydon is doing next to nothing about it.
Croydon took “action” – including issuing penalty notices or sending out a stern warning letter – on just 108 occasions in 2012-2013 when there were 11,149 incidents of fly tipping. That is action by our council in only 0.98 per cent of cases.
This is not a short-term quirk of inactivity: of 41,753 instances over a seven-year period, there has been a grand total of just 16 prosecutions by Croydon Council.
Those 11,149 cases represent the equivalent of more than 30 episodes of illegal tipping reported every day of the year. And in the six months from April this year, there had been another 5,878 incidents reported to Croydon Council – suggesting that last year’s “record” was on course to be broken.
“It is scandalous that Croydon North residents are forced to wade through litter and dumped rubbish while our Tory-run council sits back and does nothing,” Labour MP Reed said today. “Croydon charges one of the highest levels of council tax in London and yet basic services are sub-standard.”
Reed has more than once suggested that Croydon’s Tories have operated a sort of rubbish apartheid in the borough: providing more street cleaning in the town’s shopping centre and in the Conservative-voting south than in most of the wards in his constituency, although based on some anecdotal reports from the south, the service is just as bad there – and often negligently dangerous, too.
“We need a council prepared to crack down hard on fly tippers by prosecuting them through the courts instead of pretending this problem doesn’t exist and letting our streets fill up with filth.”
Reed’s latter comment is carefully nuanced, suggesting a proper process, with serious offenders taken to the magistrate. Croydon’s Tories want to bring in outside contractors, a battalion of litter storm troopers, to apply on-the-spot fines for those who drop cigarette butts or chewing gum in the town centre. And all on a special commission scheme for the anti-litter troops, and without anyone getting their day in court.
This will be highly visible and will generate thousands of quid in easy income for the council. But it will not address the fundamental issues of the state of our streets, and is unlikely to catch a single fly tipper.
- Check out Reed’s enquiry into the state of the streets in north Croydon here: http://croydonnorthstreetscommission.com/
- Croydon in 2013: The Garbage Gallery revisited
- Croydon in 2012: The Garbage Gallery
- Fly tipping more than doubled in Croydon since 2010
- Dirty Croydon: “I’m ashamed of the dirty state of my road”
- Croydon in a Pickles again over its rubbish service
Coming to Croydon
- Cinema Ruskin: Dec 21
- Surrey Street Christmas market, Dec 22
- Community Carol Service, ACA, Dec 22
- STDLCC Screening: Now You See Me, Dec 27
- STDLCC Screening: Kolya, Dec 30
- Steve Knightly at Stanley Halls: Feb 5
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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