Posts tagged tidybs5

Illiteracy or bloody-mindedness?

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It’s now 10 years since TidyBS5 was inaugurated by local residents with the support of local ward councillors to campaign for a more pleasant street scene in the Bristol council wards of Easton and Lawrence Hill.

During all that time, both residents and councillors has persistently call on Bristol City Council to increase both the presence and visibility of enforcement action, but our efforts have only been rewarded in the last couple of years with higher fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for environmental crimes in 2019 and the recent recruiting of more enforcement officers (posts passim).

Largely as a result of the actions of local residents raising awareness of environmental blight, the streets of Lawrence Hill and Easton are now marginally freer of fly-tipping than they were then, but problems still persist, not helped by the lower footfall due to lockdown and the amount of DIY and building works being undertaken.

This was spotted at the junction of Walton Street and Chaplin Road.

Photo shows fly-tipping beneath sign advising no fly-tipping, CCTV in operation

Is this an example of illiteracy or bloody-mindedness? Kindly give your answers in the comments.

New alternative to binning soft plastic

Tesco logoThe BBC reports that Tesco is to introduce collection points for soft plastic packaging such as crisp packets, pet food pouches and bread bags at its stores in England and Wales.

This follows a successful trial in 2018 at 10 stores.

The roll-out will start with facilities being installed in 171 stores in south-west England and Wales.

Tesco is hoping to collect 1,000 tonnes of soft plastic a year and customers may return packaging from other retailers as well as its own packaging provided all packaging presented for collection is clean.

Soft plastic is notoriously hard to recycle and most currently ends up going to landfill or being incinerated.

Given Bristol’s wide range recycling collections, this type of plastic makes up the majority of my residual waste collected by the refuse lorry.

With this move, Tesco is finally living up to its “Every little helps” motto.

Going, going…

Here’s a wee update on the bike I reported on Lawrence Hill (posts passim).

Since reporting, a member of Bristol Waste staff has been out and affixed a removal notice to the bike, giving the owner – if any – a fixed period, in this case 21 days (3 weeks), in which to recover their property before it is removed.

Abandoned bike on Lawrence Hill with Bristol Waste removal notice attached

Abandoned bike with removal notice attached to its top tube

I trust when it is removed, the 2 redundant D-locks also affixed to the stand are likewise removed at the same time. 😀

 

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.

As Bristol Live reported:

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 Morton Street, Barton Hill

Fly-tipping in Morton Street

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.).

In the meantime, keep reporting fly-tipping, litter and other environmental crimes to Bristol City Council, Bristolians. It does make a difference.

PS: I’ve been informed the work I do in the local area was mentioned in the meeting when the amendment was discussed.

Fast food litter petition

in 10 years of campaigning for less litter and fly-tipping in east Bristol’s Lawrence Hill and Easton wards, one constant factor has been litter generated by takeaways, particularly the major franchises like Burger King, KFC and the like.

A petition has now been started on change.org to help tackle part of the problem, namely littering by their motorised customers, some of whom seem to have no compunction at just pitching the packaging their meal came in out of the vehicle window once their appetites have been sated.

Fast food litter

Fast food litter. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The back streets of Easton and Lawrence Hill are a good mile of so from the nearest McDonalds, Burger King or KFC, but that does not stop litter from those outlets blighting the neighbourhood.

The relevant petition is entitled “Fast food restaurants to print vehicle reg on takeaway packaging to discourage littering” and reads as follows:

The recent break in fast food companies business has given us time to be able to start to clean up the streets once littered with empty McDonald’s bags, KFC boxes and other takeaway restaurant litter.
KFC has been back open merely a couple of days and already pictures of carelessly discarded boxes are circulating on the internet. Let’s not slip back to where we were in terms of litter before the Covid lockdown. Let’s make compulsory that all drive through restaurants, who sell takeaway food, have to print the purchasers vehicle registration onto their bags or boxes. This will make it much easier to trace the litter back to the purchaser and result in a fine or preferably litter picking duties. I am proposing the idea of 3-4 stickers around the size of the bottom of the restaurants cup, printed with date/time and car registration, placed onto the bottom of the bags, cups and boxes to make it difficult for repeat litterers to remove their details without spilling the remaining contents into their cars/vans. The restaurants CCTV will back up this evidence with pictures of the driver and vehicle to provide solid evidence that they were the purchaser of said litter. The fine or community hours need to be big enough to cover costs of enforcement officers investigation times, resulting in nobody “slipping the net”.
If we can reach 100,000 signatures I can show clear public interest and go straight to the Secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and demand change. As this could result in a fine for the offenders this will make it much more appealing to the government to pass as law and thus resulting in a cleaner environment for everyone to enjoy.
Please help your local and national environment by merely signing this petition and sharing on social media platforms and as many large groups as you can, making a small but very needed step in the right direction.
Thank you good citizens.

Sign the petition.

If the petition is successful, that just leaves how to resolve the problem of those on foot who litter after eating their takeaways whilst walking home… 🙁

Abandoned cycle removal – a Bristol how-to

Cycling has undergone an upsurge in popularity in recent times due to it being a healthy and convenient mode of transport.

Nevertheless, this increase in popularity does have some drawbacks, one of which is damaged or abandoned cycles  being left attached to cycle racks or other street furniture, like this typical example on Lawrence Hill by the station steps.

Damaged, abandoned cycle attached to Sheffield stand

Even though I’ve been involved for a decade with trying to stem the tide of litter and fly-tipping that blight our streets, I was uncertain of the procedure to follow to report dumped bikes and get them removed.

I therefore turned to the Community Engagement Team of Bristol Waste, a council-owned company responsible for recycling and waste collections and street cleansing, for advice.

The relevant part of their response is quoted below.

The process is – logging a web form under street cleansing (https://www.bristol.gov.uk/streets-travel/street-that-needs-cleaning) and then provide the details of where the bike is. The crew will go and cut it off and dispose of it. If it looks like its owned by someone, then we put a notice on for 3 weeks and then go back and remove it if still there.

That seems very simple indeed.

Thanks, for your helpful reply, Bristol Waste!

I now hope others will join me in keeping the streets free of abandoned clutter.

NB:: as abandoned bikes are not specifically mentioned in the drop-down list of items that can be reported for attention, I chose to class it as ‘Litter‘. 😀

Over £4K – the cost of dropping 6 cigarette ends in Bristol

Six litter louts have been ordered by magistrates to pay a total of £671.84 each for dropping cigarette ends in central Bristol, making a grand total of £4,031.04, yesterday’s Bristol Post reports.

The individual total of £671.84 is broken down as follows: £440 fine, £187.84 in prosecution costs and a £44 victim surcharge.

All the defendants have been given 28 days to pay.

Cigarette ends are litter too. Disposing of them properly will avoid the risk of a fine.

They were all originally caught littering on 9th and 10th November last year by civil enforcement officers working for Bristol City Council (the so-called litter police. Ed.) and were issued with £75 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for their filthiness. Had the penalties been paid within 10 days, the culprits would only have had to pay £50 each.

As it is, they repeatedly ignored correspondence from Bristol City Council, as well as their summonses to Bristol Magistrates Court, as none of the defendants could be bothered to appear in person.

On average, more than 1,000 people have been issued with FPNs for environmental crimes such as littering and dog fouling each month since the ‘litter police’ started their work.

Bristol Clean Streets logoIt’s good to see the City Council taking a tough line on litter. However, far more ‘litter police’ are needed to cover the rest of the city in addition to the centre. They have made the odd foray into a council-owned public park or two and an occasional jolly to Stapleton Road, but far more rigorous action is going to be needed by the local authority if it is to have any hope of meeting the objectives of Mayor Marvin Rees’ Bristol Clean Streets initiative, i.e. that Bristol will be measurably cleaner by 2020 in terms of litter, fly-tipping, fly-posting, graffiti, dog fouling, chewing gum and weeds (especially as the latter were only being eradicated last year if residents made enough of a fuss! Ed.).

The simple fact is that there would less strain on the public purse and less work for the council in keeping the streets and parks clean if people didn’t drop litter, allow their dogs to foul all over the place, dump fly-tipping and commit other environmental crimes.

Nevertheless, it is good to see that Bristol City Council and local magistrates are sending out a clear message to litter louts to keep Bristol tidy – or its centre at any rate.

Finally, in an opinion piece in the Bristol Post, Tristan Cork takes filthy Bristolians to task for the deplorable state residents leave the city’s parks in every time the weather gets warm. Meanwhile the council has warned people who leave rubbish in parks next to overflowing bins that they will be fined £100 if caught and that the “litter police” are now patrolling parks and have been instructed to issue fixed penalty notices for rubbish deposited around bins, as well as anything left on the grass.

Littered with innuendo

Yesterday’s Bristol Post reported on the first month of operation of what it’s dubbed the “litter police”, the private contractors brought in by Bristol City Council to take enforcement action on such environmental crimes as dropping cigarette ends, littering, failing to clear up the mess of one’s dog, tagging and spitting.

They’ve had a busy first month, issuing 1,368 fixed penalty notices with a total value of nearly £70,000.

Whilst this long overdue enhanced enforcement against the untidy is welcome (as a founder of Tidy BS5 I wholeheartedly support their engagement by BCC. Ed.), it’s not the numbers that interest me, but the Post’s choice of language, particularly at the top of the article, which is reproduced below.

sub-heading under headline reads the civil enforcement officers had a busy first few weeks on the job

Look between the headline and the byline and you’ll see the following sentence: “The civil enforcement officers had a busy first few weeks on the job“.

All you Brits can stop sniggering.

Now!

On the job” in the sense of something related to work is, to the best of my knowledge, an import from American English that has in recent decades started appearing increasingly in British corporate jargon. During my youth over 4 decades ago, the phrase had only one meaning and that had salacious connotations.

Collins Dictionary gives the following definitions for the phrase in British English:

  • actively engaged in one’s employment;
  • (taboo) engaged in sexual intercourse.

As regards the first definition, this could cover tuition given during employment (e.g. on the job training): no further explanation is required for the second.

Railway Path work day this weekend

Work Day posterThis coming Saturday 23rd September, Up Our Street will be organising a work day on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path from 10am to 3pm.

Up Our Street will be testing a ‘Play Zone’ on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path for four weeks to see if small interventions can improve the experience of the path for all users.

Volunteers are needed to get involved with painting and stencilling, cutting back vegetation, litter picking and making a sculpture. Ideas for further possible improvements will also be welcome.

In return volunteers will be offered lunch, tea and a rewarding day in return. This project is supported by URBACT and is part of a community research project with the University of Bristol.

To take part, please come to Owen Square Park (map).

For further details or express your interest, contact Celia on community [at] eastonandlawrencehill.org.uk or telephone 0117 954 2834.

Tidy Barton Hill

Bristol Clean Streets logoYesterday, along with Kurt James, Bristol City Council’s co-ordinator for the Bristol Clean Streets campaign, and local resident Eric Green, I joined a group of volunteers from Tawfiq Mosque in Barton Hill (usually rendered as “Bart Nil” in the local vernacular. Ed.😉 ) for a community litter pick.

Starting at 10.30 in the morning, we split into 6 groups and tackled six different parts of the area for the next 2 hours, picking up litter and noting any larger, fly-tipped items for reporting later.

While picking, we did get passers-by thanking us for our efforts, but ultimately I’m sure all those taking part would prefer it if our fellow citizens didn’t mess the area up in the first place. 😀

It was a successful event and I was most encouraged by the cheerful enthusiasm and commitment of those involved. The photo below shows just some of the stuff we collected.

litter pickers and litter picked

Some of the litter picked up assembled at the Urban Park collection point.

Your correspondent understands the mosque plans to make this a regular event. If so, I’ll try and get along again to assist.

In the meantime, if you spot a problem on a Bristol street, be it an abandoned vehicle, litter, fly-tipping, a blocked drain or anything else, please report it to the council for attention.

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