Throughout October and November the campaign has kept up correspondence. A physical check of the situation locally shows little improvement however some change has been noted and rubbish still comes and some of it goes. The fact is there remains on the ground in our community a significant amount of rubbish – enough to affect people’s well-being and mindset. Nobody wants to live in a Fly Tipping Hotspot.
Last week Adam Holloway MP reported that a meeting with the enforcement manager for Gravesham gave details of the issues facing the enforcement team. This came after Kent Police reported two successful investigations via Facebook. Public concern was echoed in the size of fines and the limited powers of the enforcement team. We think the criminal justice system aren’t supporting the community as fines and punishments are not enough to deter further dumping on public and private land or pay for the damage and clearance. The meeting suggested that the performance of enforcement can be improved to the point of catching people at it.
In November, as the autumn leaves clear, rubbish that has been in situ under the bushes for four years or more comes back into sight. This particular hotspot has been visited several times to be “cleared” (even this year). The content comprises a number of long term deposits in place for more than two years.
100m further on, a Fly-Tipped deposit of approx. half a tonne was made, and cleared within three weeks. It was deposited right next to another dump comprising several years’ worth of uncollected mixed waste – about a tonne. Only the most recent deposit was cleared. The collecting vehicle drove by several other deposits in the lane without collecting them, much the same as we reported in September.
To us, enforcement is about getting the workforce to do its job, and get it right first time, not just trying to catch people at it.
Delivering a Borough to be Proud of
We wrote to Gravesham Council who claim in their 2020 Edition Annual Report 2019/2020 that our streets are now cleaner after investing in street cleaning teams. Like it promised during the local election. To us the clearance of all the rubbish from the streets of Gravesham seems like a good aim requiring more than £10000 investment and a program consisting of a planned set of work packages.
Because of the state of our particular hotspots we see “same old”. Not convinced by the situation on the ground whether we are being bamboozled, We have asked for sight of the plan.
Due to the amount of rubbish still being deposited, and the hap hazard nature and timing of its removal we do not see how the borough will actually come clean or when.
So far there is no response to this simple request and our plan is to present our petition to the council in early 2021. What we want to see is service data, together with the plan, with resource plans, work packages and timescales, communications plan, and issue and risk mitigation etc. Also physical evidence that financial waste is being eliminated while the tip is open and any barriers to its use – such as the KCC rubble tax are minimised.
One more thing. We do see change. The recent appointment of a caretaker in a local estate has made an impact on the overall condition of the area. This is the type of change we would welcome – somebody with an interest and the means to deal with it there and then.
Thank you for supporting us. Our petition stands at 130 people and has been running for four years. Please share locally and encourage friends to sign it. We are grateful for the support of Facebook groups Gravesham Then and Now and Gravesend Riverside Town. We also post in Gravesham Borough Councils Facebook Page but rarely get a response.
Merry Christmas and Stay Safe.
May I suggest that the local club in a purchase some cctv cameras with motion detection and then name and shame the fly tippers, especially on social media, tv and then hand the footage to the councils. We had a dog walker who kept on walking his dog in our area and not picking up its poo until I approached him and said that I would name and shame him with video footage on social media and he has never come back. It does work, but requires effort and working together.
I think that would be somebodies full time job in Gravesham. Also there are some issues around staying safe when approaching or involving neighbours. Especially when you can’t remain anonymous.