Tonight I have submitted a letter on behalf of the Mitcham and Morden Liberal Democrat focus teams to the Merton Council Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting on Tuesday 3rd September. See our letter below and let us know if you have any ideas or suggestions for how we can make sure Merton Council and Veolia start to fix our streets!
Luke Taylor, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Mitcham and Morden, submission to Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel on behalf of the Mitcham and Morden Liberal Democrat focus teams.
I am writing on behalf of the residents of Mitcham and Morden who have suffered because of the poor performance of Veolia since the council contracted out waste and collection services.
I have lived on Links Road in Graveney ward for four years, and since the Labour council handed over our waste collection services to Veolia I have watched our streets become covered in litter. There is flytipping on every corner, and no response when we submit reports and ask them to come and clean things up. The council has repeatedly refused to hold Veolia to account, and their solution of asking residents to become ‘street champions’ is a lazy response to the problem when they should be insisting that Veolia clean up their act. Neither the 30 (thirty) Labour Councillors in Mitcham and Morden nor the Labour MP have shown any appetite or ability to improve the situation, and residents have had enough.
We ask Merton Council to take four clear actions:
- Establish a team to undertake CCTV monitoring of fly-tipping hotspots to catch fly-tippers, collect evidence for prosecution, and act as a deterrent for future offences. The single prosecution clearly hasn’t stopped unscrupulous operators from making our streets a dumping ground. Residents want action to find and punish repeat offenders.
- Clarify the procedures for investigating fly-tipping where there is identifying information about the culprits, such as letters and labels on delivery boxes. Currently there is confusion between Veolia and the council on whether bags can be opened or removed if an investigation is to take place. Veolia clear fly-tips but don't look for evidence; Merton looks for evidence but can only do so before fly-tips are cleared. The council must define the correct procedure and ensure that Veolia follows it.
- Increase the number of litter bins available at key locations around the borough to reduce the amount of casually-dropped litter. Prevention is better than cure.
- Monitor Veolia’s performance in collecting green bags of street-sweeper rubbish on a more regular basis, as these are often the cause of further fly-tipping. The council must start to impose penalties in line with the waste removal contract when the required levels of service are not met.
We ask Veolia to take two clear actions:
- Veolia must overhaul their procedures for emptying bins and responding to fly-tipping reports, ensuring that sufficient staff are provided to achieve the levels of service required in the council contracts. It is clear that current staffing and processes are not working and must change.
- Veolia must incentivise their teams to solve issues that may not have been reported, such as fresh fly-tips and unreported dirty streets. Residents are not always able to report problems in time, so the contractor must take responsibility to proactively resolve issues.
Merton Council and Veolia have a responsibility to act on residents’ concerns.
On behalf of the Mitcham and Morden Liberal Democrat focus teams.