Darlington Council’s ‘zero tolerance’ approach on litter

A rallying call has gone out to residents and visitors of Darlington to join the war on litter as new patrols are set to take to the streets. Darlington Borough Council has issued a ‘zero tolerance’ warning and appointed Kingdom Services Group to carry out patrols in the borough from September, with the focus on littering and dog fouling.

A rallying call has gone out to residents and visitors of Darlington to join the war on litter as new patrols are set to take to the streets.

 

Darlington Borough Council has issued a ‘zero tolerance’ warning and appointed Kingdom Services Group to carry out patrols in the borough from September, with the focus on littering and dog fouling.

 

The new enforcement officers will issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) of £75 to anyone caught dropping litter, including cigarette butts, or not picking up after their dog.

 

The initiative is part of the council’s ongoing efforts to clean up the borough and help maintain a clean and vibrant town centre for both residents and visitors.

 

A new town centre strategy has been developed which includes more events to attract visitors, a new dedicated team leader to support the cleanliness and maintenance of the town, as well as the two-hours free parking offer in some car parks and the recent re-instatement of the water feature.

 

To help prepare for the ‘zero tolerance’ approach, ten new solar powered ‘Bigbelly’ bins have also been installed – nine in the town centre and one in Cockerton’s shopping area. The bins cost £60,000, which includes a five-year maintenance contract., but they can hold up to eight times more rubbish than the old bins as a built-in compactor crushes the litter once deposited inside. This means they will not fill up or overflow as quickly, allowing Street Scene staff to concentrate on keeping the town centre clean and tidy.

 

Cllr Nick Wallis, the Council’s cabinet member for leisure and the local environment, explained:

 

“Our Street Scene staff are working in the town centre every day. A mechanical sweeper and litter bin vehicle clears the area from around 6am seven days a week, followed by two staff who work throughout the day Monday-Saturday, and one on Sunday, picking up litter that is thrown on the ground.

 

“Across the borough, our staff empty waste bins regularly – with frequency varying from daily to once a week, depending on how busy the area is – and we’re putting larger bins into busier areas, while back alleys are checked weekly and cleaned when needed.

 

“We also have a fantastic army of Street Champions and other volunteers who carry out litter picking – but it’s still not enough. The actions of a thoughtless minority who throw their rubbish onto our streets costs around £1.18m a year to clean up.

 

“We’re doing what we can, but our streets need people to do their bit too! Find a bin or take your rubbish home. Once the litter patrols begin in September, if you don’t bin it there is a very good chance you will be caught – and then you will be fined!”

 

The main focus of the new patrols will be within densely populated areas such as the town centre, with work in other areas of the borough less frequent and more targeted.

 

The contract will be self-financing, with income generated through the issue of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs). The actual number of FPNs to be issued has not been stipulated and there are no set targets, however, it is expected that the number issued will increase significantly from current levels.

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