Litter picks to begin in St James as residents and wardens take waste problem into their own hands

Councillor Rufia Ashraf invited members of the public to a meeting in St James to discuss how best to tackle the ward's waste problem.
Councillor Rufia Ashraf invited members of the public to a meeting in St James to discuss how best to tackle the ward's waste problem.

Frustrated St James residents have vowed to take action against the recent mounds of black bin liners piling up on Northampton’s streets by launching regular litter picks.

The decision came at a meeting at St James Community Centre on Thursday night organised by Councillor Rufia Ashraf, (lab, St James) which was attended by around 25 people.

It was in response to the recent decision by waste services contractor Enterprise to suddenly begin enforcing the two green sack collection policy.

Up until a fortnight ago the firm was collecting any non-regulation black liners left on the streets on collection day.

But in the past two weeks it has begun enforcing the terms of its contract to the letter - meaning anything not contained in the branded green sacks is being left to rot on the kerbside.

Councillor Ashraf says, after Thursday’s meeting, residents have resolved to organise regular litter picks of St James in the coming weeks and begin an education campaign until people get used to the strict collection rules.

She said: “We have to bare in mind we have three more years left of this contract, so we need to start being pro-active.

“We want to start litter picks and we want to do more around education and encouraging people to put their waste out properly. There is a high population of non-English speaking residents here, so we want to try and reach them if we can.

“Rather than being frustrated, let’s do something about this.”

Councillor Ashraf believes Enterprise should have given people more notice before enforcing the rule to the letter and believes Northampton Borough Council is being left to pick up the pieces as a result.

“The council wardens are having to go round after Enterprise have been to collect all the black bin bags. It’s not fair and it is getting in the way of their other duties.”

Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet member for environment Councillor Alan Bottwood (Con, Upton) said he understands the frustrations felt by Northampton residents.

He said: “We cannot continue to keep using landfill sites. It is harmful to the environment, the UK is running out of space and it costs every taxpayer more money to bury rather than reuse waste.

“Unfortunately there are still a few households that do not recycle as much as they could. Enterprise’s two sack policy is an important step in encouraging all households to look at what they can recycle. And we support this.

“Our neighbourhood wardens are out and about in the community supporting Enterprise by looking at the streets and households who are still not recycling. They are reporting on where people are putting out more sacks than they should, and arranging to have these removed quickly.

“We are committed to keeping our communities and neighbourhoods clean. And will consider legal action against anyone flytipping their waste by putting out more than two sacks.

“We appreciate this may be frustrating to some people, but our neighbourhood wardens are working hard to make sure everything is cleared away quickly as soon as it is reported. The costs of this work are being recharged to Enterprise.”