Appendix 1: Keeping the city clean – Waste, Resources & Street Cleansing Strategy 2021-2026

Response to Notice of Motion: Litter Reduction


Litter Notice of Motion

This Council requests that:

1. A report is commissioned for the next suitable meeting of the ET&S Committee, outlining a further strategic response to the problem of littering, including:

Joint working between the council, supermarkets and hospitality industry that can stem the flow of rubbish at the source

The Circular Economy Route Map is engaging with the retail and hospitality sectors to examine how better solutions can be found for packaging.

See below and Appendix 2 for the activities in relation to seafront businesses.

The development of a voluntary scheme, whereby businesses can be supported to develop a ‘return/refund’ system for disposable items, to help minimise littering among customers; and where participation is rewarded e.g. through promotional materials / stickers for businesses who join the scheme;

Brighton & Hove seafront witnessed huge visitor numbers this summer, sadly resulting in these areas becoming a wash with excessive amounts of waste; some discarded on the beach and some huge piles of waste abandoned next to rubbish bins. On the 25 June 2020, Cityclean removed 11 tonnes, followed by a staggering 14.5 tonnes over the 8 and 9 August 2020 (opposed to three tonnes on a normal busy summer’s day).

It has been agreed to tackle this problem collectively, involving local groups including, The Living Coast, Surfers Against Sewage, the Business Manager of Brighton Seafront, plus several BHCC teams including Cityclean, the Tidy Up Team, Environmental Enforcement and Communications.

One area of work concerns working with businesses along the seafront; approximately 100 on Lower Prom (and exploring options for working with businesses along Hove Lawns). This has included assessing how they can make changes to their businesses to reduce the environmental impact of their customers and how BHCC can support businesses along the seafront.

These conversations have led to the development of a draft Accreditation Scheme for businesses to demonstrate their level of commitment to the environment. It is proposed the Accreditation Scheme will have a one to three-star rating and be voluntary, with businesses pledging through the BHCC website. They will be placed on the Scheme once it has been determined which stars they have achieved, and they will receive a certificate to put on display at their business to demonstrate their commitment to the environment to their customers.  Further work will now take place with businesses to refine the Scheme.

Once agreed, the Scheme will be piloted with a small number of businesses on the seafront. A review will take place to agree a final Scheme, which will be brought to ET&S Committee for approval, before it is rolled out in advance of next year’s summer season.

Through this work it is anticipated that there will be:

·         A reduction in the environmental impact on the seafront, reducing general litter created by visitors and customers.

·         A better, safer and cleaner space for residents, visitors and businesses to enjoy.

·         A reduction in the volume of waste placed inside general refuse rubbish bins and less waste abandoned at the side of those bins.

·         A more efficient use of Cityclean resources to maintain the whole city.

Details on how any strategy aligns with the council’s unnecessary single-use plastics pledge

The Single Use Plastic (SUP) Policy continues to add weight and support to initiatives and efforts to eliminate SUPs in council buildings and services, by organisations, residents, community activities and events.

The Accreditation Scheme will align with the policy by encouraging a reduction in the use of any plastics, where practicable; and, working with partners in joint ventures and innovative projects for reducing single-use plastic waste.

The development of the Waste, Resources & Street Cleansing Strategy will set out further plans for reducing the use of SUPs.

An update on the council’s food waste trial

The Waste and Resources Programme (WRAP) is providing BHCC with free consultancy support to complete an options appraisal to determine how best a food waste collection service can be introduced in Brighton & Hove. The scope has been agreed and the work is anticipated to take approximately three months.

The appraisal will consider:

·         What the collection frequencies should be, and whether this should be alongside the collection of other materials

·         How food waste can be collected each from kerbside properties, communal areas and flats

·         The vehicles to be used

·         The most environmentally friendly disposal method

·         The ongoing provision of liners and caddies

·         The costs associated with all the above, including revenue and capital, and one-off and ongoing

·         The carbon costs associated with the service for each option developed

It will also include feedback and examples from other local authority areas that have introduced food waste, in terms of:

·         The number of residents participating in the scheme

·         Changes to tonnage collected over time

·         Whether liners and caddies are provided free of charge

·         Other initiatives in place to support reduction of food consumption and/or composting at home facilities

·         Communications strategies used

The scope includes a review of baseline data in order to benchmark the performance of the services provided by BHCC, alongside a review of existing household waste collection policies to provide an independent assessment of how BHCC’s collection services compares with that of its peers, industry standard and best practice. The services to be benchmarked include:

·         Residual waste collection services for kerbside, communal and flats

·         Recycling collection services for kerbside, communal and flats

·         Kerbside garden waste collection services

The benchmarking exercise will take full account of the particular demographics and property types found in Brighton & Hove; and will separately assess the performance of the kerbside, flats and communal collection services in recognition of the fact that these are discrete services and are separately delivered.

The review will also consider the proposal in the National Waste & Resources Strategy of mandatory free garden waste collections and the implications for BHCC if this is legislated for.

Once complete, an outcome report detailing the options will be produced and used to inform a future report on food waste to the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee. The project will be delivered without any cost to the council and funded through a DEFRA grant awarded to WRAP.

The strategy to deal with seasonal increases in littering especially on the beaches to avoid unnecessary build-up of waste by bins whilst also not impacting on general residential household waste and recycling collection services throughout the city

Several additional activities take place each summer to deal with the increased litter on the seafront:

·         Seasonal recruitment: an additional 20 street cleansing operatives are employed from April to September to attend to the seafront. (It should be noted this year that recruitment was affected by Covid). In addition, Street Cleansing staff are deployed from other areas to support the crews at the beach.

·         Extra litter bins: An additional 70 large bins were placed along the seafront to cope with hot spot areas.

In addition, this year saw some new initiatives trialled:

·         Environmental Enforcement: officers started patrolling the beach. However, there are some challenges with this, such as being present at the moment when people, particularly groups, leave the beach, leaving litter. 

·         Overnight shift: an overnight clean-up and collection service was in operation for the first weekend of August. This helped free up resources for the following morning shift to litter pick and clean around the bins. This was found to be an effective way to deal with exceptionally high levels of litter following particular events e.g. Pride, Bank Holiday and therefore is limited to specific events. This method results in an additional cost to the service that is not budgeted for.

·         Signage: 40 large signs were erected along the seafront, reminding people to bin their rubbish properly or face an on the spot Fixed Penalty Notice.

·         Vehicles: a new vehicle was purchased, which arrived towards the end of the season. This should make emptying the bins more efficient next summer.

Further work will take place to review the effectiveness and costs of the measures adopted for this summer in order to plan for next year.

The potential to increase the number of Civil Enforcement Officers employed by the council

The Environmental Enforcement Team is self-funding. Consideration for increasing the number of Officers must take into account the ability to generate sufficient income to cover all costs.

As a trial, two extra seasonal staff were employed part-way through the summer. Initial analysis of littering FPNs issued on a monthly basis shows more are issued in high footfall months. At the end of the financial year, the data and income for the year will be reviewed to determine if it is financially viable to temporarily increase the number of Environmental Enforcement Officers from May to the end of September.

The potential to increase the number of staff and support equipment (including vehicles) that can be dedicated to litter picking throughout the city on a planned or response basis

Any additional resources will need to be funded. As part of the Waste, Resources & Street Cleansing Strategy, a service review will be completed to ensure that the service is making the best use of existing resources and review whether different equipment and vehicles can improve efficiency.

The development of the Waste, Resources & Street Cleansing Strategy will provide an opportunity for a range of stakeholders, including Members, residents and staff to share their views on how to keep the city clean.

The recent Keep Brighton & Hove Tidy Campaign demonstrated business and resident commitment to keeping the city clean. As part of this work, Cityclean deep cleaned central parts of the city over four days and four nights. This included removing graffiti, stickers and notices as well as jet washing and deep cleaning pavements. This made a visible difference, though came at additional cost. The Waste, Resources & Street Cleansing Strategy will build on this.

Through the Graffiti Reduction Strategy and the recent approval to issue Community Protection Warnings and Community Protection Notices, efforts will be increased to remove graffiti from private properties.

That the Chief Executive writes to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, requesting:

- that the Government urgently provide an update on the status of their ‘Litter Strategy’, which suggests that a ‘Reducing Litter caused by Food on the Go: A Voluntary Code of practice,’ scheme will be rolled out in 2020/21; and asks that schemes of this type be made mandatory;

- the immediate introduction of the proposals in the Government’s Litter Strategy, to ensure packaging is more clearly labelled, to allow local councils to identify and record major sources of litter;

The 2017 Litter Strategy set out 36 commitments; commitment number 17 relates to Review and update guidance on “Reducing litter caused by ‘food on the go’: A voluntary code of practice for local partnerships. In the latest annual report on the strategy commitments (2018-2019) this is marked as “not started”. The revised timetable of targets maintains 2020-2021 as the target for this voluntary code of practice. The report also states further measures on littering are to be introduced through the Environment Bill.  No other updates are available, and City Environment awaits further government announcements in this area.

The Chief Executive will write to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as per the request above.

That the Chief Executive also writes to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government requesting that government introduce an ‘Excessive Packaging Levy’, to generate funds to help councils deal with the £800m costs of cleaning up litter in the UK annually.

As part of a range of measures being pursued under the Environment Bill, the government is seeking to introduce a plastic packaging tax from April 2022. A consultation to gather feedback from the industry closed in August 2020, the outcome of which has not yet been published. This tax seeks to provide a clear economic incentive for businesses to use recycled material in the production of plastic packaging, which will create greater demand for this material and in turn stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste, diverting it away from landfill or incineration. Some impacts include adjusted business behaviour such as reducing plastic packaging use, and consumer reduction of purchases of products containing plastic packaging.  The finer detail on how this tax will be used has not been published.

The Chief Executive will write to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government as per the request above.

Other efforts to keep the city clean

Litter bins in the city’s parks

The Street Cleansing Service is currently auditing dog bins in parks.  Once completed, a review will take place as to what bins are collected by Cityclean and what is covered by City Parks. Once complete, it is likely that dog bins will be changed to litter bins to increase bin capacity within parks. This approach will reduce the number of journeys to and from, and within parks, to collect from litter and dog bins, which are currently separate collections. It is anticipated this will lead to better coverage in the city’s parks, will reduce the carbon footprint and be more efficient by reducing the number of journeys to bins in the same area.

Cityclean is also looking at options for introducing recycling in parks. Challenges the service need to address to enable this include the efficient collection of different waste streams within existing resources and managing the risk of contamination.

A27 clear up

Whilst local authorities have the responsibility for clearing litter from roads, Highways England has responsibility for vegetation cutting, road closures and co-ordination between the respective parties. This presents many logistical issues and as such, the current approach for cleaning the A27 is not satisfactory.  As a result, litter accumulates and when vegetation is cleared and shredded, leads to damage to the environment and roadside drainage channels and an unsightly mess for residents and visitors alike. 

The A27 Clean-Up Campaign Group, supported by local authorities along the route, is proposing that Highways England should have sole responsibility for all aspects relating to maintenance of this national trunk road, including the cleaning. In order to commence the process of transferring responsibility for litter clearance, the Department for Transport requires that Highways England requests this. The Chair of Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee and the Assistant Director for City Environment are engaging with the A27 Clean-Up Campaign Group to discuss next steps.

In the meantime, Cityclean is applying for the for closures to the A27, including slip roads from Falmer to Southwick Tunnel. This will include five sections of closure of both lanes and slip roads. This will be completed on a slip-road to slip-road basis overnight to reduce impact on car users. This is a large project due to putting in place diversions to divert traffic from the A27