Over the past two weeks over 500 people in Bristol have taken part in the Autumn Litter Blitz, a massive community clean-up campaign. They collected 504 bags of waste between them at 38 separate events. In total, volunteers gave up 1200 hours of their time to pick up litter and make Bristol a more attractive and cleaner place to live. It’s an impressive effort and I’m grateful to everyone who got involved.
It also goes to show just how much people in Bristol care about our local environment. People are getting out there and doing their bit – so now it’s time the council started taking tougher action too.
Inspired by all the people, including children, who get involved in litter picks, we recently ran a major advertising campaign reminding people to use a bin (or if it’s full, take their rubbish with them). Featuring the ‘Clean Streets Superheroes’, the campaign included messages on 1000 bins, 200 buses and 170 bus stops across the city.
Despite this, a minority of people still persist in dropping litter. Our street cleansing teams pick up around 7000 tonnes of waste a year and they are fighting a losing battle.
That’s why I’ve decided that firm action needs to be taken – from this week we are going to try a new approach to prevent people from disrespecting our city.
Think it’s ok to drop litter? Fine.
We’ve signed a contract with a specialist enforcement company, Kingdom, who will work on behalf of the council for a trial period. The enforcement officers will be able to hand out on-the-spot fines of £75 to people they catch dropping litter – including cigarette butts and chewing gum – spitting or tagging. People who leave dog mess or fail to keep their dog under control could be fined up to £100.
The fines will be used to pay for the enforcement service, meaning there will be no extra cost to the taxpayer. If there’s any surplus left over, we’ll use it to improve the city’s environment.
In tandem, the Broadmead BID have given one thousand pounds worth of gifts to the city. These will be randomly handed out to people spotted doing something to clean up Bristol.
Many other UK cities have already used this model to bring about big changes in behaviour. I look forward to seeing the same results in Bristol.