More enforcement officers for Bristol
In the middle of the week, Bristol City Council held its annual budget setting meeting.
As usual, it was riven with the traditional partisan ill feeling and rancour, as well as a rift over council housing rent increases within the ruling Labour group.
However, there was one glimmer of hope amongst the gloom. As a result of an amendment put forward by a group of Labour councillors, the council will be funding more enforcement officers to tackle the city’s seemingly insuperable environmental crime problems.
Later in the meeting, the original budget, with a Labour amendment for seven additional litter and fly-tipping enforcement officers, passed by just one vote 33-32.
Seven additional officers is a substantial increase in the complement of the enforcement team and one would hope that these additional resources will make a significant contribution to reducing levels of environmental crime within the city, as well as an increase in the woefully low number of prosecutions carried out, together with the issuing of more fixed penalty notices (FPNs).
Fly-tipping in particular seems to have burgeoned during the lockdowns of the last year, fuelled in part by lower numbers of people on the street (and hence less casual surveillance/deterrence. Ed.), plus the twin booms of DIY projects and online shopping (the latter has also given rise to an increase in cardboard presented for recycling, according to Bristol Waste. Ed.).
PS: I’ve been informed the work I do in the local area was mentioned in the meeting when the amendment was discussed.