Essex district hits back at dirt claims

A SEASIDE district has hit back at claims that it is among the dirtiest areas of the region - and challenged those behind the accusations to visit the area and discover the truth for themselves.

A SEASIDE district has hit back at claims that it is among the dirtiest areas of the region - and challenged those behind the accusations to visit the area and discover the truth for themselves.

Last week public sector union GMB said Tendring District Council (TDC) was the second dirtiest area in Essex and Suffolk, ranking behind only Waveney District Council.

The union's survey assessed and ranked districts in the eastern region according to the combined deposits of litter and debris on land and highways and more than a quarter of Tendring's streets were said to be dirty.

But Michael Talbot, the Tendring district councillor in charge of the environment, claimed the results were based on out of date statistics.


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He said: “Tendring is now in the top five instead of second from bottom and with the continuing improvements to the service provided we are looking for even better performance in future.

“We spend about £1.5million every year cleaning streets and beaches - that is over £10 per head for every man woman and child in the district.

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“We could always spend more, but each extra pound collects less rubbish, the law of diminishing returns.

“Cleanliness in Tendring is certainly no worse than the rest of East Anglia and is actually better than many other districts and towns.

“There will always be the odd blip or exception, but why don't the complainants come and see the area for themselves.”

The council said it has a zero tolerance attitude towards those people dropping litter, with the possibility of prosecution.

It has 34 council officers and police community support officers able to issue fixed penalty notices for littering and dog fouling.

Mr Talbot said the council was also targeting smoking-related litter and chewing gum.

“There are two sides to this particular coin. On one side is the litter actually thrown down by our residents and visitors - on the other side is the performance of our contractor, a performance we can influence, whereas we can do little except coax and entice better behaviour from our residents and visitors.

“The people who deposit their litter irresponsibly must take some responsibility for the current situation and we are doing what we can to educate them.”

The study, which applied to England, Scotland and Wales, used Audit Commission figures for 2005/06.

When the report was issued last week the GMB said there was “considerable scope” for improvement among councils.

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