The Chair of the Environment Scrutiny Panel presented the findings of the Panel's review on the topic of Education/Enforcement - Environmental Issues.
She made the following points:-
There had been two principal themes: enforcement of offenders and education to raise awareness.
Overall, a very good service was being provided.
There were gaps in data but, nationally, just over one half of the fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were paid. The figure was slightly lower in Middlesbrough.
The Executive had agreed that enforcement would reside with Environmental Services.
In terms of education, further work was required to deliver a pro-active message as to why people should not fly-tip. The appointment of an additional member of staff would assist this process.
Not all enforcement powers were being fully used. A planned programme of targeted enforcement would be introduced.
The use of CCTV may improve the behaviour of people who dump rubbish illegally.
The Chair commented that she liked the idea of "nudge and budge citizens" to reduce demand on public services, as outlined in paragraph 64 of the report.
In response to a question from a Member the Chair of the Environment Scrutiny Panel said that enforcement would become more robust, with the transfer of responsibility to Environmental Services.
A Member commented on the need for signage at recycling bring sites and fly tipping hot spot areas.
A Member felt that there was a need for a briefing for all Members ahead of a targeted campaign of environmental enforcement.
The Chair of the Environment Scrutiny Panel advised that she would be agreeable to the views expressed in the two preceding paragraphs being included as additional recommendations.
The Scrutiny Support Officer advised that, in accordance with the normal practice, the additional recommendations would be included and the revised report circulated to Members of the Environment Scrutiny Panel for final comment.
ORDERED that the report and its recommendations at paragraphs a) to h) below be approved for submission to the Executive, subject to the addition of recommendations concerning:
- The need for signage at recycling bring sites and fly tipping hot spot areas; and
- The need for a briefing for all Members ahead of a targeted campaign of environmental enforcement.
a) That the number of FPNs issued for littering, dog fouling and fly tipping be closely monitored over the next 12 months. In cases where environmental crimes have been committed FPNs should be issued and verbal warnings stopped. The Panel would like to see a stronger message conveyed that littering, dog fouling and fly tipping in Middlesbrough is not acceptable.
b) That an update be provided in 12 months time to assess whether the proposal in relation to stronger liaison between environmental enforcement and the integrated enforcement team has been effective.
c) That a co-ordinated annual programme of targeted enforcement activity, which is similar to Hartlepools 'Respect your Neighbourhood' campaign is undertaken in partnership with other public sector agencies in the town, building on the Middlesbrough Community Clean Up initiative. The Panel is keen to send out a clear message that it is everyones responsibility to keep the town clean and tidy.
d) That closer monitoring of the bring sites be undertaken through the provision and installation of CCTV, with follow up enforcement action undertaken where required.
e) That the best practice initiatives designed to change peoples behaviour in respect of littering, fly tipping and dog fouling by nudging people to dispose of litter / dog mess in the appropriate way be trialled in Middlesbrough.
f) That an education programme be put together in partnership with schools so that young people are aware of the importance of protecting and maintaining their local environment.
g) That consideration is given to the needs of the whole community and information on recycling and how to dispose of household waste be produced in community languages and recognised pictorial form following advice from the BME network.
h) That the Council establishes links with local organisations and charities e.g. FRADE and Teesside Hospice to inform residents of the free collection services they offer for large household items / white goods that are no longer wanted and could be reused.