Northampton Labour councillors call for Veolia to take action over 'lack of progress'

Last month Veolia took over the contract that covers street cleaning, cutting grass, waste collections and recycling - but Northampton's Labour group wants to see the service put it's money where it's mouth is.

Monday, 2nd July 2018, 5:57 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:01 pm
White goods, mattresses, wardrobes and chairs are just some of the things Northampton residents see dumped near their homes.

Northampton's bin collection and ground maintenance is now carried out by Veolia Uk after the contract started in June. They are taking over from contractors Enterprise Ltd, who one cabinet member, Brandon Eldred, said has left the town looking "old, tired and shabby".

Back in January, the borough council promised a three month "massive, sustained effort to get the town up to standard" at the start of Veolia's term, including litter collection, grounds maintenance and "deep cleaning".

But councillors and residents say they haven't seen any sign of Northampton getting cleaner as the new environmental services contract now starts it's fourth week.

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Shadow Cabinet Member for Environment councillor Enam Haque (Lab, Castle) is leading the efforts by Labour by urging Veolia to tidy up the town, especially in his ward, where he claims things have got worse.

He said: “I have spent the last weekend walking around various areas of the town. I am truly appalled at the lack of progress from what was a dire situation, which if anything, has got worse.

"With the hot weather, the smell from some of the bags is repulsive. It must be a serious risk to health and is something I am very concerned about.

"The Labour councillors are all out reporting this waste as well as organising regular litter picking. It’s time the borough council stopped fobbing the people off and got on with the job this new contract was supposed to deliver.”

Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet member for the environment, Councillor Mike Hallam, told critics that they should judge him and the new contractors after 90 days.

Ecton Brook resident, Sally Jones, said: "There's been absolutely no improvement at all, in fact it is probably worse as items reported on the council app are not through to Veolia.

"So you think it's going to be picked up but it's not."

Emma Heath, the face behind 'Northampton's Rubbish' Twitter account believes the excessive rubbish bags in the town could be down to people putting their rubbish out days before bin collection day.

She said: I think one of the big issues seems to be the time taken between reporting fly tipping and it being collected... weeks in some cases. We are seeing loads of student properties being emptied onto the streets too. The council needs to have a strategy for this.

"The other biggie is still people putting rubbish out all days of the week. We've had the June information about not separating recycling but no reminders about responsibility or a calendar."

Councillor Mike Hallam, Cabinet member for Environment, said: “We continue to work with our new contractor to try and ensure that the service provided is at the level that we all expect.

“We must remember that everyone has a responsibility to keep our streets clean and it is not acceptable to dump furniture outside people’s homes, put rubbish out ahead of collection days or drop litter in the street.

“We do our best to enforce and clear up fly tipping promptly, but we do need evidence, so would ask everyone to be vigilant and provide us with any information that might help.

“An important part of the new contract is education, and Veolia are recruiting a Community Engagement Officer, who will be working together with our enforcement team to try tackle these issues.”