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Messiest streets in the UK? Reports of fly-tipping double in Camden

Council says making it easier to report cases with an app explains the jump in incidents

21 November, 2019 — By Richard Osley

CAMDEN’S streets have been labelled the messiest in the country amid an explosion in the number of reports of fly-tipping.

The Conservative opposition at the Town Hall is expected to go on the attack over the state of the borough at Monday’s full council meeting after new figures showed reports had doubled in the past year.

The Tories made the council’s reduction in residential bin collections a campaign issue last year, when they predicted it would lead to more waste being dumped on the streets.

Government figures released this week said Camden was second in the UK for the number of reported incidents, only behind Leeds. As Camden is smaller than the West Yorkshire city, the Tories say the borough is the messiest per square metre.

In 2017-18, Camden had 12,170 incidents, while this year the figure has jumped to 25,765.

Camden says it has made it easier for residents to flag up fly-tipping, and as a result more incidents were reported and then dealt with.

But Conservative group leader Councillor Oliver Cooper said: “These statistics tell us exactly what thousands of residents tell us already: that Camden’s streets are now paved with rubbish, thanks to Labour and their cuts to bin collections. Busy streets are becoming filthy obstacle courses, with roads from Camden High Street to West End Lane permanently strewn with rubbish.”

He added: “Camden Conservatives had to drag Labour kicking and screaming to introduce fines for fly-tipping at all, and it’s clear Camden isn’t taking the problem seriously.”

Councillor Oliver Cooper

At Monday’s all-member meeting, the Tories will also attempt to persuade the council to do more to reduce contamination of rubbish in recycling bins.

The number of recycling collections which have to be burned rather than recycled because people have dumped their rubbish – such as crisp packets or coffee cups – has also increased. Cllr Cooper said he wanted weekly bin collections to be restored to all areas of the borough, but his party is also suggesting Camden develop an app for voice-activated home assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa.

A motion put to the meeting will suggest: “This would allow residents to know what they can and can’t recycle simply by saying in their home, ‘Alexa, ask Camden if I can recycle toothpaste tubes.’ This would immediately and without going to a computer or having to know where to look, give the answer and help reduce contamination significantly.”

A Camden Council spokesperson said: “The cleanliness of Camden’s streets is independently measured three times per year by Keep Britain Tidy. Between 2017/18 and 2018/19 Keep Britain Tidy recorded improving levels of cleanliness.   “The increase in reported fly-tipping incidents within Camden is a direct result of a number of changes we made in 2017 to make it easier for our residents to report issues, including the introduction of the Clean Camden App.”

The spokesperson added: “In Camden we pride ourselves on listening to our residents and have worked hard to ensure residents can report fly-tips, graffiti and other environmental issues easily, meaning we can respond and ensure our neighbourhood remains clean. Thanks to the increased reporting we have been able to take action on more cases, and last year issued 114 fly-tipping fixed penalty notices, 945 waste-related statutory notices and 16 successful prosecutions for waste offences.”

Camden doubled fines for fly-tipping to £400 last year.


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