The independent London newspaper

Camden says dumped rubbish on streets may be because it does such a good job of clearing fly-tipping

Victim of success? Or a "bigger structural problem"? Councillors debate fly-tipping

17 July, 2019 — By Richard Osley

Adam Harrison, Camden’s environment chief, has been asked to remove recycling bins in Swiss Cottage

CAMDEN’S environment chief has claimed that some people may think it is ok to dump rubbish on the streets because the council is competent at clearing away fly-tipping.

Labour councillor Adam Harrison was being challenged on the mess building up near re-cycling bins when he told a council meeting: “We are clearing this quite quickly and that may be contributing to people thinking they can continue to do it.”

He was answering a deputation from a fed-up Swiss Cottage resident who has handed a petition in at the Town Hall calling for  recycling points in in College Crescent, close to Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre, to be removed.

Emiliano De Christofaro, a UCL professor, told Monday’s full council meeting: “Unfortunately, the area next to the bins is constantly littered with all kinds of non-recyclable and non-donatable rubbish including dirty clothes, mattresses, sofa, orange rubbish bags, and all sorts of random items. As a result the area is always dirty, untidy, unsanitary and rats have been seen rummaging through the abandoned rubbish. The situation has tremendously worsened over the past couple of months.”

Dumped items in College Crescent this week

He added: “We also try to report litter and fly-tipping to Camden Council – for instance, using the Clean Camden app – but no matter how quickly the bins are emptied and the area swept, in a matter of hours we are back to the same unsanitary mess.”

Conservative councillor Henry Newman said he walked past the bins every day and took a photo with his phone each time, reporting any fly-tipping to the Town Hall. He told the meeting that the problem was not isolated to one site and overflowing bins could also be seen in Fitzjohn’s Avenue and Haverstock Hill.

Emiliano De Christofaro listening to Henry Newman

He said it was an “issue after my own heart” and “a bigger structural problem that goes right across the borough”, before suggesting that there was a need for rubbish bins to be placed next to recycling pick-up points.

“They are regularly overflowing. I tend to photograph and report using the app, almost every single time I pass it,” he said. “Often it is very unhygienic, and there’s a lot of rubbish strewn all over the pavement. Sometimes it’s simply the recycling bins are overflowing and they need to be collected more regularly. Other times it seems there’s fly-tipping of things that are not recyclable, or simply that are oversized.”
He added: “I’m concerned. The council should look again at the policy of not having rubbish bins next to recycling points. This means that people go along to recycle points intending to do the right thing – recycle something – they then have some litter or rubbish with them and they don’t know where to dump it. It ends up on the floor or in the recycling bin. Ending up on the floor is dangerous and unhygienic. If it’s in the recycling bin, it means the full recycling ends up being written off.”

The bins were clear the day after the deputation
Cllr Harrison said the fact that more items could be re-cycled  had “not translated right across the whole country yet.”

He said: “Even these items, like clothes and things that can be dealt with, recycled and reused, could be collected with our doorstep service, which is very comprehensive. People don’t need to go to bins so much because we will come and collect all bulky collections of items that people may be able to make use of in the future.”

But he added if certain sites were continually “unsightly” then the council was “very happy to take a look at this.”

He said: “If it is the right thing to do is to remove it, that’s what we will do.”

Share this story

Post a comment