Dartford Council’s new plan to use a private company to undertake ‘Litter Patrols’ won’t address the root causes of litter in our town.
The Conservatives have failed to tackle Dartford’s litter problem and after 13 years of Tory control, litter in Dartford is getting worse and fly tipping isn’t being tackled. The truth is that the Council have always had the ability to fine people who litter our community. They just haven't been doing it.
The Council are now employing a private company to step in where they have failed to act and carry out litter enforcement on their behalf. That means for every £75 fine issued, £42 is going directly into the pockets of the private company - it's not going back to the council.
Labour have already raised concerns about how this scheme will operate.
Because there is a financial incentive to issue fines - we need to ensure that there are safeguards in place to ensure residents are treated fairly and consistently. Yes, we need crack down on litter louts, but nobody wants to see people being chased down the street or not being given a chance to pick litter up when it has been dropped unintentionally. The Council need to make sure there are effective safeguards in place. The company being used, Kingdom, has faced criticism in the past for issuing thousands of fines when they have worked for councils in other areas.
Enforcement needs to go hand in hand with prevention and Dartford needs more litter bins. However, with the council handing over the majority of the income generated from fines to a private company we are simply not going to see to investment we need in litter prevention.
It’s also really concerning that the Conservatives have not been straight with residents about this scheme. During the consultation the Tories did not make it clear to residents that the council would be using a private company or the fact that most of the income generated will not be kept by the council. They are still not being clear in their publicity now. Residents have a right to ask why the council is not being as open and honest as they could be about this scheme
Labour will be keeping a close eye on the scheme to ensure that its operated both effectively and fairly. The Council simply haven't been clear with residents – Labour will be.