• Total failure for Bristol City Council campaign

    Rather than waste sending any officers out from their cosy bolt-holes in the Counts Louse, Bristol City Council – along with their colleagues in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary – favours a policy of legal enforcement by public notice.

    This has been applied in recent years to the authority’s duties under the Environmental Protection Act covering littering, fly-tipping (posts passim) and the like.

    In recent months, the fly-tipping hotspots of Easton and Lawrence Hill wards have been subjected to not one, but two rounds of public notices being added to the already cluttered and confusing street scene: the first consisting of the well-known red NO FLYTIPPING [sic] signs which long been known to be totally ineffective; and the second consisting of the newer so-called lamp post wraps as shown in the photograph below which was taken in Ducie Road in Barton Hill this morning.

    Scene showing two fly-tipping enforcement notices being ineffective at halting fly-tipping in Ducie Road, Barton Hill, Bristol
    Do two enforcement notices work better than one?
    Note also the large volume of litter between both signs.

    The lamp post wrap informs anyone who cares to read it that someone has recently been penalised fort dumping rubbish here. Between it and the traditional red sign, are a black waste sack and a catering size white plastic tub in the corner of the city council’s public car park in Ducie Road.

    A couple of conclusions may be drawn from the above picture, as follows:

    • Enforcement by signage is not effective against fly-tipping; and
    • The city’s fly-tippers are either illiterate or don’t bother reading materials meant to dissuade them; or
    • They consider their chances of being penalised by a local authority constantly pleading poverty and cutting staff numbers are so close to zero that they can be discounted.

    Just around the corner from Ducie Road, there’s another lamp post wrap on the bridge carrying the A420 over the railway line at Lawrence Hill. It too has been remarkably ineffective at preventing fly-tipping by the 1600 litre general waste bin that shares the railway bridge’s footway.

    As a footnote, your ‘umble scribe did take the time and effort to report the incident mentioned above.

  • January – the pick of Barton Hill

    Saturday 6th January saw the first Barton Hill community litter pick of 2024.

    The December event had been rained off at the last minute. However, this time the weather gods were beneficent and the sun shone.

    All told five volunteers turned up, tidying the Ducie Road area, including its council-owned car park. In meetings with the council, your correspondent has been informed in the past that the car is supposed to be visited and cleansed by street cleaning crews once a week, although this appeared not to have been done well – or at all – in recent times.

    Some of the swag from the January litter pick
    Bags of swag

    In one hour we managed to collect over 6 bags of general waste and recyclable materials for collection by Bristol Waste, after which three of us had another one our of usual interesting chats over tea and biscuits at the Wellspring Settlement before going our separate ways until next month.

    As per usual, many thanks to Shona for organising and my fellow pickers for turning out on a cold morning. 😀

  • Barton Hill’s monthly litter pick

    Barton Hill’s monthly community litter pick took place last Saturday.As usual, we assembled outside the Wellspring Settlement (formerly Barton Hill Settlement. Ed.) at 10 am on Saturday to decide where needed our attention most.

    We then tackled some of the Urban Park before proceeding to Cobden Street and its associated public open space and picnic table, a favourite spot with locals for drinking beer.

    This month saw the biggest turnout for several months – 5 in total; and whilst we were in the Urban Park organiser Shona took the email address of another prospective volunteer to add to the mailing list.

    At the end of one hour’s picking in pleasant, warm sunshine, we posed for the obligatory group photo before heading back to the Settlement for a well-deserved hot drink.

    Saturday's litter picking crew

    Here’s the swag we collected divided into recyclable materials (translucent bags) and general waste (green bags) awaiting collection by Bristol Waste.

    The haul of litter and recyclables

    Once again, many thanks to Shona for organising the event (as well as for the photos above. Ed.) and my fellow volunteers to turning out and working so willingly.

  • Barton Hill litter pick

    On Saturday 9th just gone, one of the hottest days of the year so far, four of us met at Barton Hill’s Wellspring Centre at 10 a.m. to take part in the monthly community litter pick organised by Shona Jemphrey (to whom thanks are die for the photos. Ed.).

    We covered part of the Urban Park and some of the surrounding streets, plus an alleyway off Victoria Avenue, which some desperate folk had been using as an emergency urinal. The ‘swag‘ we collected is shown below. Barton Hill litter pick swag

    After an hour’s sweating and tidying, the team retired to the Centre for a well-deserved brew and some biscuits. As per usual, we got a few thanks and kind smiles from passers-by.

    The crew have a well-deserved brew
  • Bristol’s environmental crime fines raised

    On Tuesday your ‘umble scribe was at a meeting of the Bristol Clean Streets Forum, which brings together community activists, council officers responsible for waste management and enforcement and the council’s own waste management company, Bristol Waste.

    A frequent plea your correspondent has been making for years was again repeated on Tuesday, namely to make greater use of the local media to deter littering, fly-tipping and other environmental crimes. as per the example of neighbouring North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Councils, who frequently have successful enforcement actions written up in the local press.

    The meeting was informed that press releases were indeed issued to highlight successful enforcement actions but the local press preferred stories from the two local authorities mentioned above to anything produced in the newsroom down the Counts Louse.

    Well, something finally happened yesterday. Bristol Live reported that the council had agreed to increase the charges imposed under its FPN scheme for environmental crimes such as littering. fly-tipping and fly-posting.

    Fly-tipping labelled with enforcement Council Aware sticker
    The Jane Street fly-tipping hotspot looking unlovely – as per usual.

    FPNs for littering will be increasing from £100 to £150, with the discount for early payment rising from £65 to £75.

    Councillors also agreed to double penalties from £200 to £400 for breaches of the “household duty of care”, which requires residents to take reasonable steps to ensure waste produced at home is only handed over to licensed waste carriers for disposal.

    Since 2017 the council has earned a surplus of £220,000 from these fines and these proceeds have been spent on measures to keep streets clean, including removing fly-posting, anti-littering campaigns, equipment to litter-picking groups, clearing graffiti and additional enforcement according to Kye Dudd, the Cabinet member for climate, ecology, waste and energy.

  • Community litter pick this Saturday

    Your ‘umble scribe will be ignoring all that nonsense in London SW1 involving Mr & Mrs Charles Mountbatten-Windsor for something far more vital to the health of the nation.

    Their bling bonnet day in Westminster unfortunately clashes with a regular event of local importance – the monthly Barton Hill community litter pick.

    Barton Hill community litter pick poster
    Stuff the coronation. This IS important!

    Last month four of us turned out for an hour’s cleaning, managing to clear several bags of litter (as well as reporting half a dozen instances of fly-tipping. Ed.), having a bit of gentle exercise with tea and coffee afterwards, all punctuated by good company and good conversation.

    The end of April's litter pick

    If you can join us outside the Wellspring Centre (formerly the Settlement) at 10.00 am on Saturday, we’d be very pleased to see you.

  • Barton Hill litter pick

    Saturday 18th March was a fine warm day and your ‘umble scribe had received an invitation from a friend Eric in the neighbouring district of Barton Hill to participate in the regular monthly community litter pick, which I’d committed to doing as I’d forgotten about the previous event due to strong drink having been taken the night before.

    At 10 am three of us – Eric, Shona and your correspondent – all equipped with gloves, litter pickers and bags all set off into the Urban Park, mainly to concentrate on clearing its fences, hedges and shrubbery of wind-blown litter – mostly plastic carrier bags and sweet and snack wrappers. – although we did encounter recyclable materials such as bottles and cans which were duly placed in separate bags. One worrying development was the large nitrous oxide catering cylinders (note to users: I have no personal beef with you wanting to have a pharmaceutically-induced giggle, but please dispose of the waste properly 😀 ).

    Group photo at the end of the litter pick
    Photo courtesy of Shona Jemphrey

    Anyway at the end of an hour that went very quickly, encouraged by smiles and kind words from passers-by, the flowers and blossom that were blooming, we’d collected 5 bags of grot for collection by Bristol Waste and retreated to the Wellspring Settlement for a cuppa before dispersing for the rest of the day.

    A final footnote. Whilst in the Urban Park it was good to note that repairs to the poor quality surface around the play equipment area were finally being carried out after at least 3 years’ lobbying by concerned local residents.

  • Dear Bristol City Council…

    FAO: Neighbourhood Enforcement Team

    This morning we were surprised to see that your red and white NO FLY TIPPING [sic] sign in Ducie Road car park just off Lawrence Hill has stopped working.

    We and other local residents would be most grateful if you could send an enforcement officer round as soon as possible to restart it.

    Thanking in advance.

    Sgd. Tidy BS5

    No fly-tipping sign in Ducie Road car park above fly-tipped waste
  • Enforcement notices – a tale of two cities

    Staying in Glasgow for a few days for my niece’s wedding, your correspondent cannot help comparing and contrasting the differences between how Glasgow and Bristol City Councils set about tackling the public nuisance and environmental crime of fly-tipping, particularly as regards the use of public notices for enforcement and dissuasion.

    Exhibit A: the public notices used by Bristol City Council.

    BCC A5 no fly-tipping sign

    This is an A5-sized sign with no redeeming graces, which threatens the maximum possible fine under law of £50,000 (no mention of the alter#native maximum penalty of 6 months’ imprisonment or a combination of the two. Ed.). Should anyone feel public -spirited enough to fancy reporting any fly-tipping, the public is directed to the council’s main switchboard number, with no mention of the very convenient option of reporting fly-tipping online.

    Exhibit B: a public notice used by Glasgow City Council, as seen in Holmlea Road.

    A4 sized no fly-tipping sign from Glasgow City Council

    The initial difference is the size of the notice: at least A4 instead of A5, i.e. twice the size. There’s no mention of any maximum penalty, but residents are encouraged to report Dumb Dumpers via a 24-hour 0845 number. 0845 telephone numbers are “business rate numbers” (otherwise known as “non-geographical premium rate phone numbers“, for which the charge for mobile telephones and landlines is “up to 7p and your phone company’s access charge“. The UKPhoneIfo website warns that “charges for dialling 0845 numbers can be significantly higher – up to 41p per minute” when calling from a mobile number and that “when an 0845 number is called, the call recipient receives a small share of the call cost.” This number is a Scotland-wide number for reporting fly-tipping (there’s also a pan-Scottish Dumb Dumpers reporting website too, Ed.), in addition to which Glasgow City Council website also offers online reporting of fly-tipping and other environmental crimes.

    Two more differences to Bristol are apparent: the locations of the council rubbish tips (civic amenity sites) are given in a further attempt to change anti-social behaviour, whilst finally residents are reminded that the state of the neighbourhood is their responsibility, as well as that of the council.

    There are lessons that Bristol City Council could learn from Glasgow, as long as it ditches the not invented here attitude that seems to pervade the corridors of the Counts Louse.

    One final note: even though the city is still being tidied up following the end of the recent Scottish bin collectors’ strike, your correspondent’s overall impression is that the streets of Glasgow are not as filthy as those of Bristol. Whether this is due to belittling and disparaging those who despoil the urban area as Dumb Dumpers has yet to be proven empirically, but is another tactic BCC could try, if so inclined.

  • Gentrification reaches fly-tipping

    Like many other parts of the city, the Easton area of Bristol has been subject to an immense wave of gentrification in the last decade or so, with all the usual signs: rocketing house prices, overpriced bacon butties made with sourdough, etc.

    Indeed, local house prices have risen so dramatically within the city that an old college mate’s son and his partner couldn’t afford to buy anywhere in BS5 and eventually had to move to Cheltenham in order to find somewhere more affordable than Bristol’s inner city.

    Last year the Bristol Post/Live published its own guide on how to spot the signs of gentrification.

    It would be fair to say that gentrification has given rise to some local resentment on the streets, as shown below.

    Sticker with wording Refugees welcome. Londoners piss off!

    The signs of gentrification have even started showing in the types of items fly-tipped on local streets (in a sort of waste-related version of trickle-down economics. Last month your ‘umble scribe reported his first ever fly-tipped futon base and one of his other tasks today is to notify the council of this morning’s sighting of a fly-tipped golf bag on St Mark’s Road.

    Fly-tipped golf bag


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