Posts tagged tidybs5

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.

Child superheroes launch campaign against litter

Superheroes picture

Photo courtesy of Bristol City Council

Local ‘superhero’ schoolchildren are the stars of a new publicity campaign to reduce litter in Bristol.

As part of Mayor Marvin Rees’ Clean Streets campaign, children from schools across Bristol have been taking part in litter picks to improve their neighbourhoods and now they’re encouraging all Bristolians to do their bit by not dropping litter in the first place.

Each year Bristol Waste Company collects 3,700 tonnes of litter from the city’s streets, not including rubbish that is fly-tipped or residents’ residual waste. That’s equivalent to the weight of over 290 double-decker buses.

Chesney, one of the children taking part in the campaign, has been helping with the clean-up as he felt sad at seeing litter in the park. “You try to make a difference but then people just litter again, and it’s like a consistent circle.” says Chesney.

Taking inspiration from these youngsters, the council is asking everyone in Bristol to help keep the city clean. The message is simple: Use a bin or take your litter with you.

Find out more at bristol.gov.uk/superheroes.

Better news for a Tidy BS5

Tidy BS5 logoFollowing on from the last rather gloomy post on residents’ efforts to get Bristol’s Easton and Lawrence Hill wards (roughly covered by the BS5 postcode. Ed.) tidier, some more positive news has been received from Up Our Street.

Celia, the community engagement officer, has emailed to report on a meeting she organised with some traders on Stapleton Road and commercial waste contractors earlier this week.

She writes:

It was a lively meeting, but some progress I think was made, and SUEZ, Bristol Waste and Biffa are going to visit their clients on the road to encourage people to move away from large bins on the highway to sack collection. Most traders seemed to agree that removal of the bins would help by taking away the focal points which attract so much dumping. Bristol City Council are going to have two additional enforcement officers working in the area soon, with a focus on collecting evidence so hopefully this will increase the speed and number of enforcement actions against illegal waste dumping.

cfly-tipping in Nicholas Road

Additional enforcement is coming to Nicholas Road and the rest of Easton & Lawrence Hill

Getting traders to stop using the 1280-litre Eurobins (also known by some as skip bins. Ed.) would be great news, besides which additional enforcement from the city council will also be welcome. It might just help to break the back of the fly-tipping problem. However, one has to ask what’s being done about education and encouragement, the 2 other words beginning with an “e mentioned in my previous post.

There’s nothing on education measures in Celia’s email but there is some encouraging news on other matters.

Celia continues:

Another area of progress was that we got our first two businesses to sign the Tidy BS5 Pledge! Tovey’s Seafood and First Choice Florists. I think it would be timely to visit all businesses on Stapleton Road inviting them to sign the pledge.

Finally, Up Our Street, local residents and Easton councillor Afzal Shah, amongst others, are also working on a motion to be presented to Bristol City Council for a cumulative impact area*. This would amongst other things stop planning permissions for new hot food takeaways of which both wards already have plenty and which are a major source of litter (not to mention food for the local gull and rat population. Ed.). Celia concludes by noting this proposals was also supported at the meeting with local traders.

* – Bristol currently has 5 cumulative impact areas covering the city centre, Gloucester Road, Whiteladies Road and Southville and Bedminster areas.

The good, the bad & the ugly

The original title of this post was going to be “How seriously are Bristol Clean Streets and a tidy BS5 being taken?” However, the title of Sergio Leone’s 1966 Spaghetti Western seemed more appropriate.

The good

Bristol Clean Streets logoTwo weeks ago on Saturday on 6th May, there was a great community effort in East Bristol to clean up local streets and public open spaces as part of the Tidy BS5 “Beating the Bounds” event (posts passim).

This event attracted some high-level support from, amongst others, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, Kurt James who’s leading the council’s Bristol Clean Streets initiative, Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy, and local councillors, with whom your ‘umble scribe was able to discuss matters.

Beating the Bounds St George Park

Some of the Beating the Bounds litter pickers in St George Park

It should be noted for the record that both Marvin and Kurt completed the whole 5 km route, clearing loads of crud on their way.

The bad & the ugly

Serious doubts are now being expressed, not just by local campaigners but councillors too, about the official commitment to tidier streets in Easton and Lawrence Hill wards, as something is clearly going amiss between the fine words coming out of the Counts Louse (aka City Hall. Ed.) and what is actually happening on the streets.

These doubts are being reinforced by recent press coverage that the council and its agents cannot even keep city centre amenities clean and tidy, in addition to which another report suggests that citizen action to remove litter is being discouraged.

Fly-tipping seems to be on the increase again; and that which is reported is not always collected in a timely manner (within 2 working days of being reported, according to the council’s website. Ed.) or the first time it is reported. On the latter point I speak from personal experience, having had to report one site three times before it was finally removed.

However, third time lucky is not the worst of it. Look at the picture below. You may notice the round pink sticker on the bin. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a sticker that was affixed by Bristol Waste to fly-tipped waste for collection as part the communal bins trial near the end of last year (posts passim). That means that particular instance of fly-tipping has been awaiting collection for over 6 months!

6 month old fly-tipping in Easton

Tagged as fly-tipping in November 2016 by Bristol Waste, still awaiting removal in May 2017

When we started campaigning some years ago, Tidy BS5 supporters were informed that bin lorry crews and street sweepers are supposed to report fly-tipping for collection. Clearly those paying their regular visits to St Mark’s Grove are suffering from either actual or selective blindness and illiteracy.

Although the communal bins for household waste have now all disappeared from the Stapleton Road corridor, the trade bins still remain and – just like the ones that were removed – are still acting as magnets for fly-tipping.

Stapleton Road trade bins with associated fly-tipping

Trade bins on Stapleton Road are still attracting both fly-tipped trade and domestic waste

I’ve asked the council whether there’s any legal means of removing the trade bins from the street as they’re not only attracting fly-tipping, but fly-posting and graffiti too – two more targets for the Bristol Clean Streets initiative. Not only that, but they look ugly and take up a lot of public space. Should the public purse be subsidising local business by providing public storage facilities for private property?

Litter and street cleaning also fall under the Bristol Clean Streets initiative. Just how well are they going?

The answer would appear to be that they’re not really going anywhere. All streets are supposed to be cleaned regularly, but this photograph of conditions on the ground in Croydon Street in March 2017 tells a different story. The leaves came off the trees during autumn storms in November 2016. This clearly illustrates how infrequently and/or badly that street is cleaned.

Croydon Street leaf litter

Croydon Street, March 2017. Leaf litter left uncleared 4 months after autumn storms

When contacted, the council acknowledged the the level of cleanliness was below standard, but that parked vehicles make it difficult to get street cleansing vehicles in to deal with it. However, one doesn’t have to be a genius to consider viable and acceptable alternatives… like sending in a bloke with a brush instead!

It’s not just above ground that litter accumulates. One of my regular routes is the pedestrian subway under from Easton Road under the Easton Way dual carriageway. This 1960s planning mistake is not the most pleasant pedestrian facility to use. However its use is made even less attractive by it seemingly being permanently full of litter (we won’t mention the persistent and all-pervasive smell of urine. Ed.). This state of affairs only seems to be alleviated somewhat a few days after I or other public-spirited residents report it as requiring attention.

Finally, let’s turn to fly-posting, another target for Bristol Clean Streets. This too, like dirty streets and fly-tipping, is supposed to be removed within 2 working days of being reported according to the council website. But what’s actually happening on the ground?

Easton Road fly-posting

Fly-posting on Easton Road. Reported at Easter. Still there in mid-May.

Your ‘umble scribe reported the above instance at Easter. However, one month later in mid-May it was still there. I understand it has now been removed by a local resident taking matters into their own hands. In addition, I’m aware that other local residents bothered by fly-posting do likewise and remove it themselves without involving the council’s enforcement team who on the available evidence are too busy to deal with BS5 or incapable of doing so.

Conclusion

It would appear that Bristol City Council and Bristol Waste have taken their eye off the ball locally following the initial flurry of enforcement activity and education that accompanied the communal bins trial and matters are once again slowly declining.

Whilst regular litter picks and other action by local residents should be continue to be encouraged, there also needs to be consistent action and pressure on the less tidy and civic-minded of our local residents by both Bristol City Council and Bristol Waste.

In addition, to encouragement, this action and pressure can be summarised in a further two words starting with “e“, i.e. education and enforcement; education to treat our local streets better and enforcement when the encouragement and education are insufficient.

Without additional effort the Bristol Clean Streets initiative and aspirations for a Tidy BS5 will just end up on the bonfire of council failures funded by local residents out of their increasingly unaffordable and poor value for money council tax.

Do you agree or disagree with the above analysis? Comment below.

Beating the Bounds

On Sunday 6th May, Tidy BS5 is organising a Beating the Bounds event from 11.00 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. This will be a 5 km jaunt around parts of BS5, starting at Lawrence Hill roundabout, finishing at by the library at Junction 3 in Baptist Mills, tidying up places as we go.

We’ll be joined on the walk by Bristol’s elected mayor, Marvin Rees, who spent part of his childhood in Easton and whose mum still lives here.

The publicity materials giving route details and rough timings are posted below.

Hope to see you there!

Beating the Bounds publicity poster

Beating the Bounds publicity poster reverse

Recognition

On Tuesday March 21st, your correspondent had a special appointment to keep up at the Mansion House in Clifton, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Bristol.

The occasion was the presentation of Lord Mayor’s Medals to what Jeff Lovell, the current Lord Mayor, described in his opening remarks as “community champions”.

Only some 20 medals are awarded each year and your ‘umble scribe was a recipient this year.

Receiving the medal from the Lord Mayor

Receiving the medal from the Lord Mayor. Picture courtesy of Up Our Street

According to the citation, I was commended for my work in the voluntary and community sector in East Bristol, including all the Tidy BS5 efforts to make Easton and Lawrence Hill a cleaner, more pleasant environment.

However, I was not the only recipient with a BS5 postcode. Three other locals received recognition.

Hannah Crudgington was recognised for her work for Tidy BS5 (particularly her videos. Ed.) and her efforts to show a more positive side to Easton than is generally given by the local media.

Bruce Yates was commended for his work in turning around local youth organisation Baggator at The Pickle Factory in All Hallows Road, as well as his work for RADE Bristol, which campaigns for inner-city clean air and against efforts to install polluting standby electricity generating plant in the city.

Last but not least, Amy Harrison received a medal for her work for Up Our Street.

All four of us are shown in the photograph below.

BS5 recipients of the Lord Mayor's Medal

The BS5 recipients of the Lord Mayor’s Medal. Picture courtesy of Up Our Street.

It was, all told, a lovely afternoon, which was made even more special by a surprise visit by my eldest niece Katherine and boyfriend Martyn, who were subsequently treated to a night on the tiles in Easton.

GB Spring Clean weekend in Bristol

Last weekend was the highlight of the Great British Spring Clean campaign when Brits were exhorted to go out and do their bit to tidy up the UK.

Bristol did its part, needless to say with the campaign dovetailing neatly into Mayor Marvin Rees’ Bristol Clean Streets campaign, for which he’s has made a pledge that Bristol will be measurably cleaner by 2020.

Marvin launched the Great British Spring Clean weekend in Bristol by returning to his old school in Easton.

Marvin Rees on Stapleton Road with children from Hannah More Primary School, plus Tracey Morgan, CEO of Bristol Waste and Kurt James, Bristol Clean Streets lead officer

Marvin Rees on Stapleton Road with children from Hannah More Primary School, plus Tracey Morgan, CEO of Bristol Waste and Kurt James, Bristol Clean Streets lead officer. Picture credit: Bristol City Council.

Litter picks were organised all over the city in both (so-called) deprived areas and prosperous communities alike, from Lockleaze to leafy and well-to-do Stockwood. It seems that litter is a problem with no class distinctions.

Needless to say the Tidy BS5 volunteers were out as well, getting their hands dirty. Two were spotted doing their own impromptu litter pick in Easton’s All Hallows Road, whilst there was a more premeditated litter pick of Owen Square Park organised by Up Our Street as part of the Love Your Community day at next-door Easton Community Centre.

In addition, Tidy BS5 also organised a stall on Lawrence Hill, near the entrance to Lidl. Leaflets featuring a residents’ pledge (along the lines of “I will do my bit to keep BS5 tidy” Ed.) were handed out to Saturday morning shoppers, mainly as a means to get them giving their views on the general state of the area. The photo below shows Hannah and Anthea on the stall, which also comprised daffodils which were handed out as a thank-you to all who stopped by.

The Tidy BS5 stall at Lidl

Finally, there was also some public service grafitti on the footways of Easton for the Great British Spring Clean campaign. Did it survive long enough in the weekend rain to get the message across?

grafitto reads drop your litter in a bin

Touting for trade

Some time ago in a meeting with Bristol Waste, the council-owned company responsible for cleaning the city’s streets and emptying residents’ bins, it was revealed that the company wanted to try and find commercial customers for its services.

Evidence has emerged that the company has now started seeking business customers for its collection services.

Bristol Waste employees have started handing out flyers like the one below to local shops, businesses, voluntary and community sector organisations in the Easton area of the city, all of which are responsible for making their own waste disposal arrangements (and which can be fined by the city council if these are found not be exist or be suitable. Ed.).

Bristol Waste trade flyer

My informant from whom I acquired the flyer told me that Bristol Waste is trialling this scheme in Easton. This presumably follows the same line of thinking as that for the Stapleton Road waste trial (posts passim), which is generally along the lines of “if it works in Easton, we can get it to work anywhere in the city“. 🙂

Update: Bristol Waste was contacted for a comment and replied as follows:

We are speaking to businesses in a number of locations across the city including Stapleton Road, Bedminster & Avonmouth in this first phase of our commercial roll-out. The service will be available city-wide.

In addition, the Bristol Waste website has a dedicated commercial page.

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