In the 1990s American writer Bill Bryson pondered whether Liverpool was holding a ‘festival of litter’ – and a new study shows the situation has not improved. Tony McDonough reports
Levels of litter and graffiti in Liverpool are three times the national average, according to Keep Britain Tidy.
Cleaning up litter costs Liverpool City Council £9.5m a year. Now Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson is joining force with Keep Britain Tidy to clean up the city. She said how we store, collect and recycle waste will need a “radical rethink”.
More than 300 sites across Liverpool were looked at to measure levels graffiti and litter. The verdict was not good. However, one bright spot is the news that fly-posting in the city was almost half the benchmark standard.
In partnership with Keep Britain Tidy the city council is launching a year-long environmental action programme. In the first stage there will be a summertime focus on litter in parks and dog fouling. The programme offers five key principles:
- Get things right first time – a huge amount of council time and money is spent responding to littering complaints.
- Tackle business waste and litter – Through a new waste partnership with Liverpool BID Company and Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.
- Behaviour change – Various targeted campaigns to engage residents, businesses and visitors in the right behaviours.
- Maximising community action and volunteering – Specifically with Friends of Parks groups.
- Enforcement – With investment in and a greater use of technology.
Keep Britain Tidy will carry out a follow-up city-wide survey next January to assess the impact. Liverpool City Council has already invested more than £8m in its alleyways programme. Its aim is to create safe and cleaner neighbourhoods.
And it will roll out improved litter bins in the city’s major parks. Money is also being invested in CCTV monitoring to identify and prosecute fly-tippers. Plans are also being developed for a new type of bin. This will help the city tackle the issue of black bag waste for more than 27,000 households.
Mayor Anderson is also the political lead for waste management in the city region. She said: “If we want to seriously address the climate change crisis, Liverpool needs to take significant steps towards becoming a zero-waste city. That requires a radical rethink of how we store, collect and recycle waste.
“I’ve launched a major review of this entire process. I am consulting with community groups, businesses and schools to understand how we can deliver this in a smarter way. Our new partnership with Keep Britain Tidy is part of the journey to analyse the challenge we face. We aim to identify the solutions, particularly at street and neighbourhood level.
“Everyone has a part to play in making our communities clean and tidy. The legacy of that will have huge consequences, economically and environmentally, which our future generations will greatly benefit from.”
Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “Litter pollution impacts on the environment in so many ways. It it also has economic consequences and increases the fear of crime.
“So it is important that councils around the country follow Liverpool’s lead in making it a priority. No one wants to live somewhere blighted by litter.”