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Agenda item

WASTE SERVICE AND STREET CLEANSING PERFORMANCE REPORT

To consider an update on waste services and street cleansing performance.

Minutes:

Mr John Blackledge, Director of Community and Environmental Services, presented the Waste Services and Street Cleansing Performance Report. He informed the Committee that the report covered a wide range of services and that performance had been good against the challenges faced within Blackpool.

 

Members welcomed the report and praised the inclusion of information regarding the challenges faced by the service. It was felt that this information would help the Committee identify areas where scrutiny would be of value.

 

It was noted that the government had recently published its National Waste Strategy and that the Lancashire Waste Strategy was due for renewal in 2020. The Strategy was a joint document between the Council and Lancashire County Council. Mr Blackledge therefore asked if the Committee would wish to feed into the development of this piece of work, while noting that this could be a joint piece of work with Lancashire County Council. The Committee agreed that a dedicated session should be held to consider the draft Strategy.

 

Members of the Committee highlighted the ongoing issue of the use of plastic bin bags being used for kerbside domestic waste collections, and the damage that could be done by seagulls to them. This had created significant areas of untidiness within Blackpool and therefore it was asked if the new waste company, Enveco, which was wholly-owned by the Council, would introduce bins for all household waste. Mr John-Paul Lovie, Waste Services Manager, responded that the Council and Enveco were looking at a wide range of options to improve domestic waste collection, which included the provision of domestic waste bins. He added that a plan would be developed following consultation with ward Members to be rolled out by the end of February 2020. It was also noted that not all areas of Blackpool would be suitable for the introduction of domestic waste bins.

 

The Committee asked what had been done to encourage recycling by residents and if communications of the working being undertaken could be improved. Mr Lovie explained that more could be undertaken to improve communication but that significant work had taken place. This included involvement with the ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ campaign and information targeted at children and young people to get them to encourage their parents to recycle more. He also stated that no recycling from Blackpool went to landfill and where possible the Council sought to recycle locally, although it was noted that approximately 10% of plastic recycling was sent to a Spanish company to be recycled.

 

Members queried which areas of Blackpool had the highest level of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) issued for littering. Mr Jez Evans, Head of Waste and Environmental Operations, responded that most FPNs were issued in the high density areas in the centre of Blackpool, but that littering happened across the town. The Committee also asked how enforcement had taken place and if better coverage and more staff were needed. Mr Evans replied that enforcement training was available to all staff within the service, not just enforcement officers, including how to challenge an individual who had littered.

 

It was also queried how enforcement of littering within parks was undertaken. Mr Evans informed the Committee that Parks had recently been added to his service and that all staff would be trained in how to challenge littering and report it to street cleansing. Consideration was also being given to using CCTV to assist in preventing littering. Mr Blackledge added that all staff were encouraged to not just walk past instance of littering and ensure that it was reported. Mr Evans also stated that residents were able to report littering via the Council website.

 

The Committee also discussed the use of FPNs and action taken for non-payment. Mr Evans stated that where sufficient evidence of an individual littering existed the Council would seek to prosecute them for non-payment of an FPN. Members also asked at what age someone could be issued with an FPN, noting that some of those who littered were of school age. Mr Evans responded that anyone over the age of 10 years old could be issued with a FPN. Where this was the case the Council sought to involve a child’s parents in a solution that could involve them assisting with street cleaning in their area if they were unable to pay the FPN. It was also emphasised that the service relied on members of the public reporting instances of littering to help ensure Blackpool was kept clean and that the activity of the service had received support from residents.

 

Members also asked what concerns officers had for the future of waste service operations going forward. Mr Blackledge replied that there was a need to develop a new Lancashire Waste Strategy to replace the existing strategy which would come to an end in 2020. He also noted that the Council’s landfill contract would end in 2025, and it was hoped that this would be an opportunity to end the use of landfill for waste disposal by Blackpool. However an alternative would need to be identified to achieve this ambition.

 

While the Committee welcomed the work undertaken to encourage residents to reduce littering it was queried what had been done with littering by visitors to Blackpool. In response Mr Evans stated that Sail Flags had been displayed on the promenade during the summer encouraging the use of bins and that the services vans had played a jingle to further encourage their use. Officers believed that this had had a positive impact on visitors to Blackpool.

 

The Committee agreed that a dedicated session be held to consider the draft Lancashire Waste Strategy.

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