Fri, 22 Sept 2017
WEST Berkshire Council is to trim back its litter picking and street cleaning in a further bid to save money.
The council is proposing to target its cleaning resources instead of routinely tidying areas, regardless of their condition.
The council said that town centres would be unaffected; as well as high priority services such as the removal of fly tipping and hazardous litter, such as broken glass or drugs.
Street cleansing and litter picking in town centres, council car parks and Newbury bus station will also be unaffected.
But outside of these areas a more responsive approach will see resources deployed as they are needed rather than following a set programme of cleaning.
Speaking about the proposed changes the council’s executive member for environmental protection, Dominic Boeck (Con, Aldermaston) said: "The street cleaning service we currently provide is excellent but expensive.
“Unfortunately we are unable to sustain it at a time when we are seeing greater demand on our services and in particular the social care local people need.
“I hope local residents will support us by being our eyes and ears in their communities and letting us know of any problems in their area."
The council spends £2.5m providing street cleansing, litter picking and bin emptying, weed spraying and a response crew to deal with fly tipping.
Litter bins are currently emptied on a schedule but under the proposals they would be emptied when they are nearly full.
The council slashed £100,000 from its litter picking and street cleaning budget last year.
And the announcement comes just two weeks after the council started charging residents to dispose of non-household waste at recycling centres in Newbury and Padworth.
Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition, Alan Macro (Theale) said the announcement was “a great shame.”
“People don’t think ‘this is a high priority area I will throw it out here’, they just throw it.
“It’s a great shame... some areas will deteriorate quite badly I think.
“The announcement doesn’t surprise me what does surprise me is they are introducing it now. We are going to see a lot more litter in the streets
The consultation on the proposals opened on Wednesday, September 20 and runs until Tuesday, October 31.
A report will then go before the council’s influential executive committee for consideration on December 21.
Residents can respond online at www.westberks.gov.uk/streetcleansing
Furthermore, the council is asking community groups who want to provide an enhanced service in their communities to get in touch.