Since the end of 2021, Clean Up Britain has been engaged in a project to get further into the details of what is happening up and down the country with regards to councils and litter action.
A group of Local Champions have been sending requests to their councils to help us answer some key questions about litter prevention in England.
At the time of writing, there are 330+ local authorities in England alone – this makes it a pretty significant task to get round all of them and collate the responses. However, we have already contacted a very significant sample size of 70+.
This means we are getting a pretty good idea of why things out there look like they do.
Here are some initial headlines:
– Councils which use private enforcement agencies issue significantly more fines for littering than those which don’t
– Almost all the councils which use private enforcement agencies have contracts in place which are at least cost-neutral
– Some councils don’t know how many bins they manage
– Some councils have responsibility for managing bins and some apparently don’t
– Virtually no councils separate out the cost of litter picking from their overall street cleaning contracts, meaning the true cost the of the problem is difficult to identify and therefore reduce
– The amount that you are fined for littering and the likelihood that you will be fined for littering varies hugely from one area to another
The picture is a mix of definitely good and definitely bad practice. It is also highly fragmented, which raises the question of why some of these important maintenance issues are not more standardised across the country – are things really so different in Tonbridge & Malling, Waverley and Amber Valley..? And why, when the answers and outcomes are often so clear-cut, is there so little consensus and sharing of best practice?
More to follow as further findings are analysed.