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Street Scene & Litter

The number one environmental concern of the British public is the tidiness of their neighbourhoods and the plague of litter.  Litter is not only unpleasant to look at but helps breed a sense of insecurity and even crime”   Boris Johnson 29th March 2010


Audit Commission “street and environment” figures for 2008/09  shows that of the 346 English local authorities only 36 had a worse performance on litter than Hillingdon.   That puts us very much in the relegation zone on both counts.

In the Gazette article the Council are quoted as saying tin frerence to London Boroughs they had  “one of the lowest spends on street cleansing per household”.

Gazette Article   Audit Commission figures

See bottom of page for a history of  LB Hillingdon’s broken promises and misinformation on littering.

Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs)

The Councils web site has some informative pages on their environmental enforcement activities.  However they are hidden away under “democracy” rather than “environment”  Click FPNs 2010 to access them and to see how many FPNs they issued so far in 2010 for littering.

In the first 5 months of 2010, while they fined 16 people for dropping litter from vehicles, not a single non motorist was fined. In other words no one was fined for dropping litter on our pavements. No one was fined for littering our parks and green spaces.

What was the point of the Council conducting a survey in February last year which showed that  91% espondents were concerned about litter and that tougher action needed to be taken.

What happened to  the subsequent promise made in the People Magazine in August 2009 “Drop Litter and face the consequences”.

Rubbish Behind Shops

Rear_50_High_St_Ruislip_28_04_10 copy
 We have written to the Council to clarify their policy with regard to rubbish at the rear of retail premises siting the example of 50 High St Ruislip. See picture.

The rubbish is clearly visible from King Edwards Road

It would appear that the land is part of the driveway and not therefore the responsibility of the retailer who has complained to the Council to no avail.


History of LB Hillingdon’s broken promises and misinformation on littering

2004 Jan

LBH Cabinet approve proposals  to introduce On The Spot Fines for littering promising:
A tough and energetic enforcement regime”  and “A no tolerance approach to littering..”

nly 2 people were fined for littering in the whole of 2004!!

PCSOs were not given the paper work to issue on the spot fines for littering.


In the LBH 2006 residents' survey, cleaner streets were flagged up as one of the most important factors amongst residents. However LBH spent only 24 pa per household on street cleaning

 2008 May

The May 2008 ENCAMS Capital Standards Report (litter and associated environmental issues) stated:  “The London Borough of Hillingdon appears to be performing below both National and Capital Standards benchmarks”.  The Target Index of Local Environment Quality - All Areas (the higher the index the the better the quality) was 39%  compared with the National Benchmark of 58%.. The report’s Matrix showed that for All Areas, i.e. the overall picture,  LBH was rated as Unsatisfactory for Cleansing Standards/Litter

2008 August

However, the Council’s  press release  reporting on the  ENCAMS survey  said Hillingdon was becoming a cleaner and greener borough but made no mention of its unsatisfactory rating

2008 Sept

 MORI carried out an opinion  survey commissioned by the Council.  Hillingdon residents were asked about their degree of satisfaction with a wide range of services.  However they were not  asked to give a satisfaction rating for street cleansing.

2009 Jan

Undaunted by this lack of supporting information the Council’s press release, reporting on the results, said under main findings: “A clean and attractive borough - very high levels of satisfaction”.   Cllr Sandra Jenkins, Cabinet Member For the Environment, was asked for an explanation.   This topic is covered in detail under Misleading Press Releases

2009 Feb

LBH carried out a survey of more than 500 residents “to gauge residents’ opinion on whether the council should take a tougher stance against those who drop litter and committ other enviro crimes”. It went on to say under findings:

“..there is a strong feeling of support ...that tougher action needs to be taken against individuals who drop litter and commit other enviro crimes in Hillingdon”

“91%respondents said they consider litter on our streets to be an issue or a major issue, with fast food packaging being the biggest concern”

2009 August

Hillingdon Council said it is launching a new litter campaign to take tougher action against those caught dropping litter in the streets or throwing it out of their cars.

 In a letter to the Gazette of 5th Aug Kathy Sparks said “...in the coming months the Council will be launching a litter campaign to prosecute and fine those caught throwing rubbish out of their cars and dropping litter in the streets

I wrote to her on 17th Aug asking if there were any  more details (reports, proposals, costings etc)  available and for  the  the number of on-the-spot fines levied by Council Officers for  dropping litter in the streets or throwing it out of their cars since Jan 2004. No response has been recieved in violation of the Enviromnetal Information Regulations 2004 and the Council’s own standards for respondsing to correspondence.

2009 Septemb er

At the Council meeting on 3rd September I read out a formal question adressed to Cllr Jenkins, Cabinet Member for the Environment. 

In the  preamble I quoted the  findings from the ENCAMS report (see May 2008 above) and drew attention to the misrepresentation of the results of the September 2008 survey (see Jan 2009 above).  I then asked Cllr Jenkins to tell me:

 “.. if the new campaign is to be primarily an  advertising / publicity event - in other words a rerun of 2004, or will it have real teeth, in which case what additional manpower will be allocated to levying on the spot litter fines and what number of fines are you targeting or estimating  per annum?”

Go to page 4 of the minutes to see how my questions  and Cllr Jenkins answer was recorded.  As you can see:

1. My quotation from the ENCAMS report and critical remarks about the Sept 08 survey have been expunged while Cllr Jenkins highly selective analysis of figures from the same report are included.

2. Cllr Jenkins has not answered my question. She has not said what additional manpower will be allocated to the levying of fines.

2009 Septemb er

The People Magazine included a full page spread headed “Drop Litter and face the consequences”.

 It said, referring to the residents survey, that  “92% of respondents said they would support the council,police and community support officers taking tougher action against people who drop litter” and

From October, anyone caught dropping litter will be fined 80”.

2009 Septemb er

I have written to Cllr Jenkins asking her to explain how she reconciles the promise to take tougher against litter droppers without any committement to more manpower on the streets levying the fines.

2009 October

No reply was received so I have sent her a reminder (30th October)

2009 Nov

On 6th Nov a reply from Kathy Sparks on behalf of Cllr Jenkins said that “ I can confirm that no additional manpower has been allocated  to the campaign..”  and “To date 13 Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued for littering..”

2009 Dec

According to the LBH web site’s Litter Campaign Summary a total of 24 FPNs had been served by the end of November i.e an average of 12 per month
This is only one fine every 2 or 3 days!!
Hardly the tougher action we were promised!!

2010 February

At the Councils Question Time meeting at Ruilsip High School on 2nd February Cllr Jenkins stated that the anti litter campaign had ended in November.  It had therefore only run for 2 months!


In February and March not a single pedestrian was fined for droping litter in the street in Hillingdon!!!

You will see from FPNs 2010 that only 8 FPNs were levied and paid.  All were for dropping litter from a car.