Harlow Council employ a new team of litter wardens
Harlow Council / Thu 13th Aug 2020 at 07:42am
A NEW team dedicated to tackling the nuisance of fly-tipping, dog fouling and littering in Harlow started to issue fixed penalty notices from today (12 August 2020).
Harlow Council has entered into a year’s trial with National Enforcement Solutions (NES) to provide environmental enforcement services in the town giving them responsibility for enforcing legislation around fly-tipping, dog fouling, littering, as well as domestic and commercial waste.
A team of environmental crime officers from NES are now out and about targeting those antisocial people who don’t dispose of their litter in a responsible way or fail to pick up after their dogs and dump waste. The new team will increase enforcement activity across the town working with the public to identify and target hot spot areas where these offences continue to happen. The officers are paid an hourly rate and do not receive any bonuses or performance pay whatsoever for the number of notices issued.
Anyone caught fly-tipping can be issued with a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) or if they are observed littering, they will be issued with an on the spot £80 FPN. Dog fouling carries a £50 FPN.
Keeping the town clean and tidy remains a priority for the council and fly-tipping, littering and dog fouling continue to be an issue in the town particularly during the recent lockdown. The new partnership will give the council extra enforcement capacity to deal with these issues.
Councillor Danny Purton, portfolio holder for environment, said: “I know from the feedback we get whenever we conduct public consultations, as well as more informal conversations I’ve had with local residents, that cleaning up our public spaces is a real priority for our residents. Fly-tipping, littering and dog mess is a real frustration for our residents.
“At the heart of this issue is a need to tackle that minority of people who still believe it is okay to just drop their rubbish wherever they fancy. It can’t just be about education or awareness-raising, nor can we afford to just throw more money into street cleaning – there has to be a realistic deterrent and we believe hitting these irresponsible people in the pocket is the way to go.
“Working with NES and having new dedicated environmental crime officers out there seven days a week issuing on the spot fines to those who are caught in the act should soon get the message out there that we mean business. Dropping litter and dumping waste is antisocial behaviour and impacts on our environment. There is never an excuse to mess up our town and I would think the majority of local people believe we are right to be targeting offenders in this way. If you are responsible with your litter and rubbish and care about our town or are a responsible dog owner who picks up after their dog you have nothing to worry about.”
Street cleaning currently costs Harlow Council over £2m per year and every year tonnes of litter and dumped waste is collected from street cleaning rounds.
National Enforcement Solutions are a specialist supplier of environmental crime services to councils across the UK and also work in partnership with Basildon Council and London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
John Dunne, Strategic Director of National Enforcement Solutions (NES) said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Harlow Council.
“NES deliver a wide range of environmental investigations and enforcement services on a national basis and have consequently contributed to a reduction in street litter and the associated cost of street cleaning as a result of our efforts.”
“Our aim is to reduce environmental crime for the long term and patrol the town in an ‘intelligence led’ manner focusing our controls on identified hotspots received from the complaints and feedback of the general public.”
“We will operate a robust but always proportionate methodology to tackle environmental crime, using a wide range of technical support including wireless body worn cameras and a handheld computer which will confirm the identity of an alleged offender before issuing a fixed penalty notice. Our officers have been instructed to communicate openly with the community with the overall aim of inclusivity for the Harlow community to play their part in the task ahead.”
Litter, fly-tipping and dog fouling can be reported to the council at www.harlow.gov.uk/safety-and-crime/report-street-problem
Whilst the cycle tracks are getting plenty of debate at the moment perhaps litter bins could be installed during the repair program we here so much about, a track that we use and perhaps others round the town have benches here and there but no litter bin with them, why not, perhaps these new litter wardens could also start looking for evidence in the large amount of bagged household waste we see dumped on our travels.
Whilst i agree with enforcing FPN on anyone that purposely litters. the officers in Harlow are abusing their powers and issuing tickets to people even when their actions are accidental. I didn't expect to see this kind of thing seeing that the officers are not bonus incentivised but advantage is being taken of. Being fined because a receipt falls out of a pocket when reaching for keys or a phone does not extend to a purposeful action in my view, especially if you didn't even know it had dropped out!
The officers do not have a legal right to detain so you can walk away. Another useless means for the council to increase revenue