Agenda item



Report ES18003


Members considered a six-month update on progress against aims/commitments in the latest 2017/20 Environment Portfolio Plan.


Particular highlights outlined to Members included:


·  98.6% (rather than 90%) of streets in the first six months of 2017-18 meeting acceptable cleanliness standards;


·  74% public satisfaction with the cleanliness of streets in 2017/18 (increasing from 71% in 2016/17); 


·  fewer fly-tipping incidents in the first two quarters of 2017/18 compared to the previous three years;


·  23,660 Green Garden Waste customers (an increase of 12% on the same period last year);


·  49.63% of household waste recycled/composted for the first six months of 2017/18 with a 50% target for the second six months of 2017/18;


·  total amount of waste landfilled at an all-time low;


·  over ten illegal traveller incursions into LBB parks and open spaces dealt with by L B Bromley, Ward Security and the Police;


·  public realm schemes progressing to timetable and budget for Beckenham High Street, Penge High Street, Bromley High Street  and Walnuts Shopping Centre, Orpington;


·  the number of Fixed Penalty Notices and Defect Notices issued to Utilities has fallen;


·  measures to help reduce congestion;


·  fewer parking appeals against PCNs issued by L B Bromley heard by London Tribunals (formerly PATAS). 


The Portfolio Holder also referred to leaf clearance last autumn, street cleansing, parks and greenspace, recycling, and residual household waste. The Priority 1 Audit recommendations were addressed or almost addressed and a budget underspend was projected for the Portfolio. Traffic schemes were also progressing and consultation was near completion for two cycle Quietway schemes through the borough (Lower Sydenham to Bromley and Kent House to Greenwich).


It was necessary for the Portfolio to achieve as well as possible - little scope existed for further efficiencies but incentivising contractors might assist. Challenges included the Mayor of London’s aim to make London a zero waste city and by 2026 the Mayor intends that no biodegradable or recyclable waste is sent to landfill. In this regard, private waste contractors (e.g. Biffa) might help by taking recyclable material from trade waste. The Mayor also intends that 65% of London’s municipal waste is recycled by 2030. Another potential challenge concerned vehicles not meeting Ultra Low Emission Zone standards in central London moving to outer London boroughs and measures might be necessary to limit such a risk. 


Reasons for a reduced level of fly-tipping this year included: effective working between the Council and Police; seizure of vehicles owned and used by offenders; more evidence at national level; issuing Fixed Penalty Notices; and fly-tip offenders being taken to court.


To further promote the Green Garden Waste Scheme, the Chairman suggested that information is included with annual Council Tax letters and asked if this could be explored.


A successful waste treatment trial had been conducted at a specialist Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) plant during 2016/17 (by 30th September 2017, 5539t of waste had been diverted from landfill to MBT) and the Council will further develop the programme in 2017/18. Using mechanical and biological processes to sort waste, an MBT plant stabilises and separates waste unsuitable for recycling, extracts recyclable materials, and produces a solid recovered fuel (SRF) for industrial thermal applications. The plant prevents waste going to landfill so reducing the Council’s landfill tonnage. 


In collaborative working with the Bromley and Orpington Business Improvement Districts (BIDS), a successful trial of commercial paper recycling (by SP First Mile Centre) had taken place; as the BIDS operate directly with private waste disposers, their recycling is not included in the Council’s recycling rate.


To further improve recycling, the Portfolio Holder referred to opportunities presented by Environmental Services commissioning (including addressing food waste recycling, where performance had gradually slipped).


Under Neighbourhood Management, street cleanliness is checked alongside other activities. A total of 1971 inspections are carried out per month with each inspector covering two wards. Some aspects of litter e.g. fast food litter are easier to control with other items e.g. gum and cigarette butts more difficult. To collect such items more effectively, new suction technology is being trialled in Penge and high impact solutions are now necessary to achieve further improvement. More rural areas also presented an increased challenge with litter (e.g. fast food packaging) discarded from vehicles. Rather than close a littered rural road for cleansing, more innovative solutions were thought necessary e.g. a stop and go approach. 


Littering by schoolchildren was also highlighted, including areas around schools in Bickley and The Ravensbourne School. Members were advised that waste bin capacity along Hayes Lane had increased; bins were often full with litter indicating use by Ravensbourne School pupils. Newer waste bins are slightly slimmer but larger in capacity with a smaller opening to prevent household waste.


Concerning resilience to flood risk, an enquiry was made on the Council’s partnership with Thames Water. As Lead Local Flood Authority, the Council had a responsibility to ask Thames Water (as waste water authority) to look at specific assets; however, there was a reluctance by Thames Water to take responsibility for some assets formerly under local authority control e.g. culverts and the sewer beneath the A21 in the borough. Officers were working closely with Thames Water to try and address the problem. 


RESOLVED that six-month progress against the Environment Portfolio Plan’s aims for 2017/18 be noted.


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