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Meeting Report: Tackling litter and fly-tipping

Updated: Mar 20



Following on from our initial meeting with Sefton Council at the end of January, a specific meeting was arranged to discuss the issue of litter on our streets, fly-tipping and other, linked problems.


This traces directly to one of our main objectives: To make our streets cleaner and safer. Whilst our meeting touched briefly on the safety of our streets, the focus of this update is litter and cleanliness.


The meeting took place on Tuesday 6th February and was again at Bootle Town Hall. The Council was represented by Andrea Watts, Executive Director of People, who was joined by Michelle Williams - Assistant Director (Operational Inhouse Services). Our Alliance was represented by Mike from Bootle Action Group and Matt from Seaforth Village Friends, both of whom have a passion to clamp down on litter in South Sefton.


The meeting covered many of the challenges faced.


Enforcement. We asked why more isn't done to penalise offenders and why enforcement levels were so poor? The Council acknowledged that enforcement activity isn’t as an effective deterrent as they would like it to be. They outlined current budgetary constraints and explained that the enforcement team handles a wide range of activities, not just street cleansing. We learned that cameras have been trialled but there are restrictions around where these can be placed due to privacy. We noted that Liverpool City Council had published footage and images of offenders on social media and asked why this couldn't be replicated in our borough? We were told that these were in industrial, not residential settings, which is something Sefton does not currently monitor.


Fly-tipping. The Council believe that they and local Housing Associations need to be working more closely together on this. In the Peel Road, area there is a large mix of various Housing Associations and private rented properties and work is being led by one of the Housing Associations to formulate some joint action on the issues. The council took away an action to progress this.


Community skips. We suggested that the provision of regular skips for the public to use could help tackle the problem of fly-tipping. We were advised that abuse of community skips (for example, by building firms) is an issue. Also the siting of skips is not always straightforward due to limited suitable locations, and the council do not want residents crossing busy roads to get to them. We mentioned successful community tidy ups in the Orrell Park area, where the Council and community work together on set days to clean up areas. We suggested areas could have identified "community champions" who could lead on the events, and monitor what is going in the skips. Most are full within the hour. We were asked to identify suitable locations for skips in the Bootle area for the Council to look into this further, which Mike took away.


Dog fouling. We highlighted that this is becoming more and more of an issue for our communities. The Council are aware. However, again it comes down to having the resources to deal with the problem and behavioural change is required (see below). We flagged that dog fouling around schools is on the increase and a constant topic across various communities' social media groups. The Council is seeking to engage with local schools to start a publicity campaign. Bedford Primary School was given as an example of such a trial.


Litter Bins. We raised that the location of these is patchy and inconsistent, giving the example that there no bins from Kirkdale station until the Mons, which is causing major issues. There are re-occurring uncollected sweeper sacks and tenants in flats next to the library cause fly-tipping issues on the canal embankment. The Council agreed to take these away and look into them.


Alleyway Clean-Up projects. We asked how these are selected and funded and whether the process of applying for such schemes could be simplified? It was believed that these are paid for out of Ward funding, accessible through elected Councillors, but an action was taken away to confirm and to feedback details.


Food waste. We wanted to know why these collections had been stopped? Methane generated from our food waste ending up in landfill is a big contributor to climate change when the impact across all boroughs in England and the wider UK are combined. We learned that this is to return. Local Authorities will be required to offer a food collection service which will be enforced by DEFRA, and must be in place by 1st April 2026. Councils cannot opt out. DEFRA is funding the majority of the scheme, however councils will also have to contribute to costs. Less food in general waste bags will hopefully mean that birds and animals will be less attracted to them. On this point, the Council updated that they are trialling a seagull proof sack scheme. This will be for those in the borough with no wheeled bin service. They have been liaising with Thannet Council in Kent, where the scheme has been successful. A pilot for Sefton is imminent, and will focus initially on more coast-side streets which have bigger issues with seagulls. The sacks will also deter other forms of vermin.


We raised the LitterLotto scheme and asked if it's possible for the Council to join other Local Authorities in partnering with them on the scheme, which encourages individuals to take more pride in their areas by collecting litter, scanning it in an app, then standing the chance to win cash prizes. They took this away.


Conclusions


Whilst the Council clearly has a role to play in keeping our streets and green spaces clean and tackling fly-tipping, we agreed that behavioural change is fundamental to this effort. Ensuring that the provision is there for people to dispose of their refuse correctly is one thing, but this information must be relayed clearly to the community so they know how to do this effectively and understand the impact littering has. It was suggested that the Council’s communication channels, such as MySefton website and social media, could be used to make residents aware of services such as the council’s bulky collection service.


We will provide updates on the actions taken away at a future date.


A copy of the full minutes can be viewed here:


20240206 - Meeting between SSCA and Sefton Council Cleansing Dept FINAL
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Download PDF • 216KB

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