Suffolk: Counting the cost of county’s litterbugs

LITTER louts and fly tippers cost the county more than �4.3million last year and there are fears the figure could soar with the closure of seven waste sites, the EADT can reveal.

On the day when the Suffolk Spring Clean 2011 campaign has been launched to clean up the countryside, figures collected from each of the borough and district authorities show the true extent of picking up rubbish dumped by residents every year.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council spent �1.3million on “cleansing services and associated costs”, collecting 1,700 tonnes of litter and sweepings from the roads and streets and another 10.4 tonnes of litter from its stretch of the A14/A11 in partnership with Forest Heath District Council.

Ipswich Borough Council spent �460,000 on clearing away litter and another �24,000 on removing fly tipped rubbish.

Mid Suffolk paid out more than �180,000 on litter-picking teams and funding villages to pay for community caretakers, while Babergh District Council forked out �400,000 on street cleaning.

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Suffolk Coastal District Council spent �576,000 on its street sweeping and park and litter squads while Waveney District Council has budget just under �800,000 for this year to keep its streets and public spaces clean.

Now in its fourth year, Suffolk Spring Clean - which runs alongside BBC Radio Suffolk’s Don’t be a Tosser campaign, led by Mark Murphy - is going from strength to strength.

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For two weeks, district and borough councils in Suffolk, coordinated by the Creating the Greenest County initiative, will be providing litter-picking equipment to residents and bags for collection.

Local litter officers will be ensuring that groups are given both black bags and clear recycling sacks to ensure that as much waste collected is recycled as possible.

David Barker, chair of the Creating the Greenest County Delivery Partnership Board, said he believed that the Suffolk Spring Clean effort would continue to have a “real impact” in its fourth year.

He said: “I have no doubt Spring Clean Suffolk, combined with Don’t be a Tosser, has had a real impact. Suffolk is a cleaner, better place but we are not complacent and realise there is still a lot to do, I would encourage everyone who is able to help there is no doubt after a litter pick the area looks so much better.

“Beyond litter, people are doing other things like cleaning village signs, telephone boxes and road signs. Suffolk has developed a major tourist industry and the benefits of a cleaner, greener county benefits the many people involved with the tourist trade.”

TO coincide with the launch of Suffolk Spring Clean 2011, Suffolk County Council has also unveiled its new fly tipping response team – a measure that has already come under fire.

Andrew Stringer, a Green Party representative on Suffolk County Council, said the new team was a poor attempt to make up for the loss of the seven well-used waste sites that close in May and was nothing more than a publicity stunt.

He said: “There is no excuse for fly tipping, however a minority of people feel it is acceptable. That minority may increase if we put more and more hurdles in the way of doing the right thing.

“It all smacks of panic and is not very well planned.

“We all know that it (the county council) is going to have to work within smaller budgets but what we should be doing is working together with district (councils).

“To be honest, all it’s going to be is a couple of people that worked at the waste sites kept on with short-term contracts.”

Mark Deer, the council’s household waste recycling centre services manager, confirmed that the two new members of staff would be former waste site employees and would begin their roles on May 9.

He said: “This is in response to the concerns we have had about the closure of the household sites in May.

“We set them up to deal with fly tipping in the areas around the household waste sites and the cover all of the county, except Ipswich borough.

“They’re going to have pro-active work to do and some reactive work as well.

“We don’t think there’s going to be a big problem. We believe that the majority of residents are not gong to fly tip.”

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