Everyone knows that Merton Council is failing to keep the streets clean.
Since April, a new company - Veolia - has been responsible for cleaning our streets and collecting our rubbish.
Recent figures obtained by the local Lib Dems have revealed a shocking complacency. 4,792 instances of flytipping were reported to Labour Council bosses between January and September 2017, and yet only 18 fines were issued.
Agreed street cleaning standards are not being met and no one is holding Veolia to account.
Even worse, from late next year, Veolia will be in charge of collecting our recycling one week, and our normal waste the next, with each household forced to take two wheelie bins.
Local campaigner and lawyer John Tippett-Cooper said:
“We don’t like the contract with Veolia: Labour are clearly rubbish on rubbish. But we should use it to force Veolia to improve their service, reduce litter across the borough AND give people flexibility over their rubbish collections.”
New research confirms that a number schools in Merton are less than 150m away from roads with dangerously high levels of pollution.
Children’s health could be seriously affected, according to the research by ClientEarth – an environmental charity that successfully brought a legal action against the Government for breaking clean air laws.
Studies have shown that the health of children living within 150m of illegally polluted roads can be affected by traffic-related air pollution.
“The evidence shows that air pollution has links to various health conditions and shorter life expectancy,” said local parent and campaigner Anthony Fairclough.
“Cutting air pollution isn’t just an environmental issue: it’s vital for people’s health. Even more worrying is that this research only looked at schools – I have a toddler – there are numerous nurseries, playschools and playgrounds near these roads too.”
Labour-run Merton Council is proposing to increase parking charges in controlled parking zones for diesel vehicles. This will be £150 "surcharge" phased over 3 years. Instead of the normal £65 cost for a parking permit, the owner of a diesel vehicle will have to pay an additional £90 in 2017/18, £115 in 2018/19 and £150 in 2019/20.
Below is our response to the recent consultation.
We had a massive response to our survey about the Council's plans for multiple wheelie bins and fortnightly rubbish collections.
Over summer, Lib Dem councillor Mary-Jane Jeanes and the team worked to take up residents' concerns with the councillor in charge of the plans.
We want a waste collection scheme that works for people, is good value for money and that increases recycling.
You can see our questions and the answers we were given here: http://bit.ly/wheeliebinQus
- Looks like they plan on giving you two wheelie bins, a recycling box and a food waste caddy, whether you have room to store them or not. They said: “standardisation will be required to a large extent”.
- They don’t really know why this new scheme would increase recycling. They said: “we expect to see” an increase of 4% (but they don’t say why or how).
- They plan on only collecting nappies and other sanitary waste fortnightly. They said: “there should be no health risk from a fortnightly service”.
Labour-run Merton Council has brought forward new plans to introduce wheelie bins in Merton, joining a scheme with three other London Councils.
General, non-recyclable, rubbish would be collected only fortnightly, but food waste would be collected every week. It looks like paper and card being would be collected one week and glass, tins and plastics the next.
Here’s our 5-point action plan to "Reclaim Our Roads".
There are a few simple actions that Shas Sheehan and local Lib Dems are calling for that would make a big difference.
1. Get serious about street cleaning
Merton Council should reintroduce street cleaning straight after refuse and recycling collections, and monitor the quality of the work.
2. Publicise the schedule of inspection and maintenance of gullies and drains
Information is key. Allowing residents to know when their road is up for inspection allows them to hold the council to account when their actions are unacceptable.
3. A joint working group set up to include Merton Council, Thames Water and the Environment Agency
This agency would look holistically at the cause and effect of poor drainage and vibrating roads, allowing for problems to be resolved before they become a thorny issue for residents.
At the moment residents are sent from pillar to post trying to find out which agency is responsible for problems in their road. This step would greatly decrease the amount of bureaucracy involved in finding out who is responsible.
4. Implement 20mph default speed limit on most roads, without roads humps
This would make roads safer, reduce air and noise pollution and mitigate vibration.
5. Enforce heavy lorry weight restrictions
This would further reduce vibrations and prevent damage to buildings in the immediate vicinity
Merton's Labour, Conservative and Residents Association Councillors failed to support a Liberal Democrat call for action on street cleaning, at Merton Council's full meeting on 9 July 2014.