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100-day illegal dumping clampdown reached, as communities praised for their clean-ups

Published: Friday, 29th September 2023

More than 20 businesses, as well as community groups and residents young and old have held clean-up events in their local areas over the past two weeks.

100-day illegal dumping clampdown reached, as communities praised for their clean-ups

Residents, community groups and businesses are being praised for showing their pride in the city and organising litter picks and tidy-ups, as a major milestone has been reached in a clampdown on illegal dumping.

More than 20 businesses, as well as community groups and residents young and old have held clean-up events in their local areas over the past two weeks, as part of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s #LoveSoT initiative. Activities have taken place in communities from Sandyford to Stoke, Smallthorne to Middleport, with people pledging to hold regular activities in their communities for the future.

It comes as the council yesterday (Thursday) reached the 100th day in its illegal dumping campaign to help to rid streets of rubbish and tackle and fine the culprits.

Council leader Jane Ashworth said: “It’s been fabulous to see so many residents, businesses and communities coming out and leading clean-up activities. We’ve seen residents single-handedly clear 100 bags of rubbish from the streets of Sandyford, ward councillors organising a host of events including a litter pick in Smallthorne where another 100 bags of rubbish was collected, businesses leading litter picks around Spode in Stoke and Festival Park, and more than 20 teams of council workers take part in activities throughout the fortnight including tidying parks and clearing rubbish from canal towpaths.

“There is a serious message to all of this. If we are committed, as a city, to ridding our streets of litter and illegally dumped rubbish, then we all need to come together and take ownership of the issue. The council cannot do this alone. If we did, we would do nothing else, and still not keep everywhere clean. What’s been really heartening is the number of people who have now pledged to hold regular events like this, with businesses now including it as part of team building and corporate social responsibility activities. This kind of commitment will help to deliver change that can be sustained.”

Council environment teams smashed their pledge to clear 1,000 incidents of illegal dumping in 100 days – within the first 50 days. They have gone on to clear 2,395 cases, taking more than 1,300 skips full of rubbish off city streets, alleyways and open spaces, and enforcement teams have issued 523, £400 fixed penalty notices. In that time, the time taken to clear illegally dumped waste has fallen from 30 days to 10 days.

The campaign has also been assisted with funding through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which aided the recruitment of five additional enforcement officers, five extra deployable cameras, and new 3.5 tonne wagons to collect the rubbish. 

Councillor Amjid Wazir, cabinet member for environment and enforcement, said: “We have spent the last 100 days showing we are taking a zero-tolerance approach to illegal dumping. We have also been hearing from residents on what will help them and put those changes into effect.

“This campaign has helped to make it as easy as possible for residents to report cases, which helps get people fined and held to account.

“The zero-tolerance approach won't stop here. Enforcement will continue at the same speed and the removal of rubbish will be both reactive and proactive. The message remains clear, those that dump rubbish in our city will be fined.”

Throughout the campaign, Stoke-on-Trent City Council has:

  • Developed key communications to help advise residents on how best to dispose of their waste;
  • Responded to resident feedback to collect additional bagged side waste that is put out on grey bin collection days;
  • targeted rogue landlords who are not taking care of their properties; and
  • from Sunday 1 October, will implement a change to the opening times of both Household Waste Recycling Centres (the tips) at Federation Road, Burslem, and Hanford, with Hanford opening later one day a week, to give residents greater choice in the times that they can get rid of their rubbish.

To celebrate the success of the campaign, residents, community groups and local businesses have been thanked for their hard work at an event hosted by Lord Mayor Majid Khan and councillor Wazir.

A representative from Middleport Matters said: “We are trying to encourage local people to look after where they live and look after the local area and to show a bit of love to the city. We have put on multiple litter picking events, planting, and general tidy-ups.”

Alison Evans-Hall from Crossways Residents Association, said: “We have been picking up litter in Sneyd Green since 2016. We work with the local school and St. Andrews Church to help engage the community.”

Julie Cooper, resident in Goldenhill and Sandyford, said: “In September, I pledged to do a litter pick every day of the month. Yesterday (Thursday)  I am up to 91 bags and hope to reach 100 by the end of the month. I love Goldenhill and where I live, and I hope to get some more volunteers so we can keep the area nice and clear.”

The momentum will continue with announcements coming soon on successful applications of the Big Green Fund, more pledges, and the launch of the annual #LoveSOT event in Spring 2024.

To report illegally dumped rubbish, or find out about community litter picks, please visit: www.stoke.gov.uk/illegaldumping