Councillor on Medway Council: The Issues

Street Cleansing

John Ward

Both the general standard of cleanliness and such issues as car dumping and fly-tipping have been tackled comprehensively in recent years. The separate street cleaning contracts for the Rochester and Gillingham areas ran out in 2002 and were replaced by a borough-wide contract that is much tighter, all but eliminating the scope for performing poorly and providing strong incentives for the contractor to perform well.

Added to this has been the Grimebusters rapid-response team, operating in six units with special vehicles to deal with any kind of trouble, including known hot-spots.

Our pilot Projects Cubitt and Minnesota have seen the removal of hundreds of dumped and/or untaxed vehicles from all over the Medway Towns, and this kind of operation is now a regular occurrence. Similarly our Banish Rubbish initiative seeks to "name and shame" and even prosecute litter-droppers and suchlike—a difficult task to achieve, but it starting to produce real dividends with the first few prosecutions now well publicised.

The situation is not perfect, but as litter is dropped by people and doesn't just fall out of the sky, yet decent non-littering folk do not feel they should have to subsidise work created by the litter-droppers so would not expect to pay over the odds for more intensive cleaning, there is a limit to how much can sensibly be done. The "slob culture" that has flourished in modern Britain has made this a currently-insoluble problem: only a raising of personal standards of conduct will solve it—no litter-dropping, no fly-tipping and no vehicle dumping/torching.

Simple really, isn't it?