Council refuses to accept mounting rubbish problem

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By Laura Lambert 

Islington council is ignoring residents’ concerns about illegal dumping despite official statistics showing it is on the rise.

There has been a huge increase in the number of offences since the council reclaimed control of waste from private contractors last year, statistics show.

Figures held by the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) reveal there were 332 more fly-tipping offences in April to September this year than in the same period in 2013.

The figures also show there was a 50 per cent increase in the number of offences within a month of the council regaining waste responsibility in June 2013.

The council’s refuse department declined to comment on the issue and have ignored residents who tweet them photographs illustrating the problem.

Tracy Ismail, who was councillor of St George’s ward for eight years, sent photos every day but is frustrated by the lack of response.

“Claudia Webbe, who is the executive member responsible for rubbish, ignores my tweets,” she said. “Council Leader Richard Watts also ignores my tweets. He actually invited me to tweet him photos of rubbish. I did this every day for some time.”

Ismail believes the increase in dumping is due to confusion among residents about what classifies as illegal. She says the council’s system of allowing businesses to leave waste in special silver bags on the pavement means residents think they can also leave their rubbish on the street.

“People think ‘there’s a council bag, I can put mine there too’. The council’s bags are actually attracting even more rubbish.”

“There are basic things that your council should do and one of them is to keep your streets clean. It is a fundamental service and should be a fundamental priority.”

There have been an average of 265 fly-tipping offences each month since April, and if that trend were to continue there would be 3174 by the end of April 2015. Of the 3934 recorded offences since the council took control of waste, 1,814 offenders have not received sanctions.