A NEW five-year plan aiming to “radically reduce litter and fly-tipping” in Blaenau Gwent has won the backing of councillors.
Blaenau Gwent council is the second authority in Wales developing its own bespoke strategy to reduce litter and fly-tipping.
The plan – which runs until 2026 – includes a range of actions aimed at tackling the issue, including community engagement, enforcement and improving education and awareness.
The vision of the document is “to radically reduce litter and fly-tipping so we can improve our natural habitats as well as our wild and urban landscapes, increasing pride and awareness of our local heritage and desire to keep it litter-free”.
Councillors on the council’s community services scrutiny committee gave their support to adopt the strategy at a meeting on Monday.
Cllr Julie Holt said she welcomed the strategy, and that she would like to see the council working with businesses and fast-food restaurants to tackle littering, as well as schools and youth groups.
“I think this is well overdue and it’s an excellent document,” she said.
Cllr Phil Edwards, leader of the council’s Minority Independent Group, said he wanted to see more fines and enforcement action taken over fly-tipping.
“I think we are falling down badly in Blaenau Gwent when it comes to not fining people and not taking people to court,” he said.
“We are one of the lowest, if not the lowest borough in Wales for not enforcing the rules.”
As previously reported, a Freedom of Information request published on whatdotheyknow.com shows the council issued no fines for fly-tipping and just 186 fines for littering offences in 2020.
But David Watkins, from the council’s street scene team, said that prior to the pandemic the council was “one of the best-performing” authorities in Wales in taking enforcement action.
Cllr Lisa Winnett said she would like to see the process for becoming a “litter champion” made easier.
The council has recruited more than 200 litter champions, which are supported with equipment from the council, but Cllr Winnett said other litter-pickers would also like to join the scheme.
“There are several groups in my area that are not litter champions, but they should be because they have been doing it for donkey’s years,” she said.
Cllr Malcolm Day said the council should be using more CCTV to catch fly-tippers and taking a more “hard-nosed approach”.
“The beauty of our area is being marred by a certain minority,” he said.
The meeting heard that the council is working to develop a CCTV system for use in more rural and discreet areas.
The new strategy is to go before the council’s executive committee for adoption in the coming weeks.