Agenda item

Litter Strategy



To present to the Select Committee a draft of a new Litter Strategy and to obtain support and direction on priority areas for work so that the strategy can be finalised for submission to Cabinet.



For Members to provide guidance to Officers on the areas within the action plan that should be prioritised over the next three financial years.


Key issues:

1. In recent years, public concern about the impact on litter has increased as have the public demands on the county council to improve its performance in managing litter. This increase in demand reflects changes in the types of litter, the causes of litter, and wider understanding of the impact of litter on the environment, economy and wellbeing.

2. Despite best efforts in constrained times, last year the independent audit of street cleanliness in the county identified an increase in litter in our communities for the first time in a decade. Given the challenges faced by the Waste and Street services department over the last five to ten years, performance has held up well. However, with further cuts expected and increasing calls for action from the public, the department has reviewed its activity to ensure that its work appropriately targeted the challenges of today and in the coming years.

3. The outcome of the departmental review is to produce a litter strategy. Currently, there are national litter strategies for England and Scotland but not for Wales. Furthermore, this will also be the first publicly available local authority litter strategy in Wales.


Member Scrutiny:

The representatives of the Crucorney Environmental Group, having addressed the Select Committee in the Public Forum, remained for consideration of this item.


Questions were asked of the Group by Members as follows.


·         Signage: A Member asked the Crucorney Environmental Group where a sign could be best placed to indicate the location of the National Park.  It was responded that there are already signs in place but they should be more prominent and contain information about maintaining the special characteristics of the National Park. 

·         Bins: A Member enquired if bins are available on the route in question.  It was responded that bins had been set up by the Environmental Group in laybys and litter hotspots. Volunteers monitor them and empty as necessary. It was explained that the Group funded four bins, McDonalds a further three bins and Landmark (Llwyn Celyn) funded one bin.  The Head of Operations confirmed that bins are provided by the Council but it is also arguable that provision does not encourage refuse to be taken home and may encourage fly tipping.  Trunk roads don’t have bins provided. 


The Recycling Strategy Manager, Environmental Officer and Education and Awareness Officer provided a presentation on the Litter Strategy and Members asked questions as follows:


·         Bins: Members considered if provision of bins was the Council’s responsibility noting that town and community councils often provide them.  A Committee Member encouraged all Members to have a good relationship with their area supervisors who can advise on sites for dog bins and refuse bins and will tackle indiscriminate littering and fly tipping. It was explained that transparent bins are a cheaper option and easier to identify if they require emptying. 

·         Pilot Scheme: The Chair asked about the Llanvihangel Crucorney pilot scheme. Some signs printed on Correx boards (“Volunteers have recently litter picked this area”) have been erected and environmental statements will be added to the new refuse collection vehicles. Litter levels will be monitored in the area to see if this is an effective deterrent and, if so, this approach can be rolled out across the county. 

·         Litter: The Officer offered the opinion that levels of litter in Monmouthshire are not particularly high but appear so because of its rural nature.  Resources to address litter are mainly used within the towns and there is limited resources for rural areas.  The litter strategy considers where the resources should be best spent.  A Member supported the strategic placing of litter bins, in liaison with town and community councils, and more education particularly for secondary age pupils.  Members agreed there is no excuse for littering, and advocated fixed penalty fines.

·         Enforcement: The Chair asked if consideration had been given to issuing fines, noting that some Welsh councils use agencies to monitor and fine litterers. It was responded that there are options within the Litter Strategy.  The Head of Public Protection informed the Select Committee that only a small number of fines have been issued for litter offenses but there have been eight prosecutions for fly tipping over the last four years.  The change of responsibility for on street car-parking enforcement in April 2019 may provide some additional capacity to issue fixed penalty notices.  The role of staff managing off street parking may be extended to issue fixed penalty notices for dog fouling, littering and on street parking.


Mr. Jackman provided some statistics that Monmouthshire County Council was the only Welsh Council not to have issued fixed penalty notices during a three year period and advised that successful Litter Strategies have fines and enforcement as a deterrent.


The Environmental Officer introduced the Litter Strategy, and answered questions as follows:


·         Chewing Gum: A Member raised the issue of persons discarding chewing gum.  It was explained that some of the manufacturers have a fund to which applications can be made mainly to encourage behavioural change.

·         Education: A Member advocated the option for enforcement and infrastructure, and emphasised the importance of education of young people.  It was suggested that a poster competition could be sponsored by businesses.  In response to a question, it was confirmed that more work should be done with businesses in terms of education in terms of customers’ disposal of packaging and employee behaviour.  It was confirmed that those businesses contacted have been supportive.  It was suggested that good behaviours could be successfully promoted through social media, and also that the housing associations could take a larger role e.g. to address refuse being put out too early.  Members agreed that prevention is crucial and reported that the housing associations in some areas were very helpful.

·         Fly tipping: It was explained that identification of perpetrators of industrial waste fly-tipping is difficult and prevents enforcement.  The Recycling Strategy Officer said that the main enforcement areas are for fly-tipping, industrial waste, putting refuse out early and also litter.  It was agreed to review strategy for siting and purchasing bins, and to include promotion involving businesses.  County Councillor D. Dymock offered to be involved in consideration of partnership with businesses. Members also accepted the role of the community in eradicating litter.  In response to a question, it was explained that fly tippers have been identified through intelligence gathered from the discarded waste with addresses on e.g. letters.

·         Deposits on bottles and cans were suggested to encourage their collection.

·         Litter must be addressed at source and it was questioned how to measure success.

Text Box: Committee Conclusions: The Chair concluded that this had been an interesting debate and summed up that: • The Select Committee would welcome feedback on the outcome of the pilot in the Llanvihangel Crucorney area; • It would be more relevant to have our own measure of cleanliness; • It would be appropriate to have a further meeting to follow up on working with businesses and schools to receive an update on e.g. a poster competition • In terms of options appraisal, that priority should be given to consideration of enforcement and infrastructure. The Chair thanked the Crucorney Environmental Group Members for their attendance, ideas, contribution and for holding the Council to account and looked forward to future working together. The Chair thanked the officers for their attendance and contribution.

Supporting documents: