The signs have gone up around town, as if they are “Wanted: Dead or Alive” posters in Dodge City in the Wild West. Except this is Wild West Croydon. Don’t you dare dump rubbish on our streets, or you’ll face the full force of the law is the clear message. There must be a new sheriff in town.
Broad Green councillor Stuart Collins has been announced as the Labour-run new council’s lean, mean, green machine deputy leader, or something like that. He’s in charge of T-shirts and slogans.
The big failure of the previous Tory Town Hall administration was the abandonment of any enforcement as far as the cleanliness of our streets was concerned.
Veolia, our street cleaning contractors, get to monitor their own performance (yep, seriously: which exec director signed off on that contract for the council?), and determined fly-tippers could go about their dirty business with impunity in Croydon knowing that there would be no one on the look-out and prepared to slap a fixed penalty notice on them. In one year, barely 1per cent of fly-tipping cases reported in the borough were prosecuted under the Tories.
So Collins’s poster campaign is a statement of intent. But is there any action to back-up those bold words?
The local papers have been quick to run stories – fed to them from the comms department in the council HQ at Fisher’s Folly, no doubt – of how selfish fly tippers have been caught in the act and fined. In one ironic instance, the official action came after a resident snapped the offender, and his car registration plate, and informed his ex-councillor, one of the Conservatives who had lost their seat in May’s local elections.
Where the Tories let down the people of Croydon, and contributed to losing the election over the state of our streets, was by drastically reducing the street scene budget. Reports of fly tipping appeared to go ignored by the council. In truth, they probably weren’t: there was simply no staff left available to take any action.
We have repeatedly asked Collins, in response to his social media statements about the council’s tough new stance on rubbish, about the level of that commitment to back that up. How many officers have been assigned to this task?
We have yet to get an answer to what would seem a straightforward question. Meanwhile, tenants in multiple-occupancy properties continue to dump their black bags, spilling out the goop of domestic waste on to the borough’s pavements. According to the council’s own figures, there were at least 30 reported instances of rubbish dump in Croydon, every day of the year.
The scale of the issue suggests that Collins needs , somehow, from somewhere, to assign a regiment of council officers to deal with the problem. This will mean more than doling out a few T-shirts. So how many Croydon Council officials are out there, serving letters on the tenants and – more importantly, their landlords – insisting that they change their behaviour?
Fly-tippers do what they do because it saves them money, sometimes makes them money, and they can do so with little fear that they will ever be caught. Only when we get the statistics for the cases brought against offenders through 2014 will a proper assessment be possible of what real action is backing up the poster and T-shirt campaign.
Because as John Wayne would always drawl when playing the sheriff in a lawless Wild West town, actions always speak louder than words.
- Council condemned for “scandalous” inaction on fly tipping
- Fly tipping more than doubled in Croydon since 2010
Coming to Croydon
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 13
- David Lean Cinema: The Wind Rises, Aug 14
- Mind-Loosing Workshop, Aug 16
- David Lean Cinema: The Love Punch, Aug 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Aug 16
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 20
- David Lean Cinema: Stop The Pounding Heart, Aug 21
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 27
- David Lean Cinema: Frank, Aug 28
- Upper Norwood Library well-being groups, Aug 30
- Warlingham rugby dinner with international Richard Hill, Sep 12
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Sep 20
- Streatham Common 6M race, Sep 27
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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