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Blitz on areas blighted by environmental problems brings results

More than 120 tonnes of fly-tipped waste has been removed from streets and alleyways as Wirral Council and partner organisations carried out a comprehensive ‘blitz’ on areas of Birkenhead that have been most blighted by environmental problems.

As well as fly-tipping and alleyway dumping, contaminated bins, graffiti and untidy gardens and pavements were addressed as part of the ‘Neat Streets’ campaign, which started at the end of May and continued until the end of the summer.

No fewer than 23 'blocks' across eight distinct areas of Birkenhead where environmental issues have been a cause for concern were cleaned-up during the campaign.

The programme was multi-faceted – it was much more than just a clean-up/litter pick. There was a strong education element, with officers from a number of agencies knocking on doors and speaking to residents to remind them of their responsibilities for keeping the community clean and tidy.

As part of the campaign, 708 contaminated bins – which ordinarily would not be emptied as part of regular domestic waste collections – were dealt with, with information stickers then placed on them as a reminder of bin collection days and the fact that they can register for alerts. 434 bins which had been abandoned on the streets were removed over the course of the campaign.

Biffa, the community payback team and social landlords such as Magenta Living, combined to carry out thorough cleanses of target areas.

Other headlines from the Neat Streets activity included:-

  • Graffiti removal carried out by Continental 
  • Fly posting and graffiti removed from phone boxes and cable boxes by BT, who also scheduled in some identified repair works
  • Letters sent by the council to homeowners about cutting back overhanging trees and branches on their property
  • 114 items of damaged street furniture reported for repair
  • Residents written to to address untidy gardens on their property
  • Business waste advice given
  • Reports have been logged for faulty entry gate repairs
  • Nine new bins provided to residents
  • 2.7 tonnes of weeds removed from entries
  • 97 bin repairs carried out free of charge
  • 8,851 residents engaged with over the course of the campaign

Julie McManus, Cabinet member for Community Services, said:

"Neat Streets has been just the latest in a number of efforts the council, working alongside residents and other agencies, has been involved in to further improve our neighbourhoods across Wirral.

“It has been as much about talking and listening to residents to find out things that can be done better to help them to make a difference. So while alleyways were being tidied, graffiti removed and litter picked up, the exchange of information and advice was also key to try and minimise the impact of potential issues before they arise in the future.”

Moving forward, the council and partners are making plans to build on the relationships developed and lessons learned during the Neat Streets campaign. 

One of the proposals currently being explored is the possibility of providing ‘community skips’ in problem areas in an effort to discourage fly-tipping in alleyways and on pavements.

A project such as this in south Liverpool proved successful in reducing fly tipping in areas where this was piloted and plans are being made to launch a similar initiative in some of the Neat Streets areas. 

If it gets the go-ahead, the Wirral pilot would involve skips placed in some of the more problematic areas, once per month, for three months. Skips would be placed in the street for a morning each time for residents to deposit household waste, while the council and partners would work together to clear white goods and bulky items.