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New environmental enforcement team hit the streets

From the start of November a nine month trial began that will see four Environmental Enforcement Officers and one Team Manager from NSL – the contractor that already provides parking services to the borough – target enviro-crime hot spots.

Last year Waltham Forest Council officers handed out 800 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to people caught committing enviro-crimes offences such as littering, fly-posting, spitting and urinating in public.

“As you can imagine this involved a lot of work by our enforcement officers and other back-office staff,” said Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment.

“We have no desire to rein back on this – in fact quite the opposite – but we did recognise it was detracting from the time and resources we had to concentrate on more complex work.”

In addition to having an excellent track record in addressing low-level enviro-crime, the Council has also hit fly-tippers hard, with incidents slashed by a third over the past three years.

Partly this is down to the Council’s Bulky Waste Collection Service. Unlike most boroughs, the Council will collect up to five items a week free of charge from your home, providing an obvious disincentive to fly-tip.

The Council also carries out a significant amount of enforcement action in regard to fly-tipping and it is exactly that sort of work that Council officers will be freed up to do more of by delegating town centre enforcement action to NSL.

Recently a van that was used to fly-tip building waste in Walthamstow was crushed by the Council and the owner was given a six-week suspended prison sentence for fly-tipping offences.

The Council spends more than £5million a year keeping the borough’s streets, parks and open spaces looking their best, so encouraging people not to litter would be of huge benefit, both environmentally and financially.       

Recent research has revealed that smoking related rubbish makes up more than a third of litter, suggesting that some smokers need to understand that dropping a cigarette butt in the street is simply no longer acceptable.

“I think some smokers do need to get with the times,” said Cllr Loakes. “A couple of decades ago dog owners would not routinely pick up after their pets, whereas today the vast majority take responsibility and carry bags.

“Dropping your cigarette butt in the street is littering, plain and simple, and you will get fined. If you still do it, then frankly it’s time to clean up your act.”

Photo: Councillor Clyde Loakes with some of the new Environmental Enforcement Officers from NSL.

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