Cabinet accepts Scrutiny plan to build a Smarter Merton with the help of local people

At July’s Cabinet meeting, members approved a report from scrutiny Councillors on ways in which the Borough can tackle envirocrime – such as graffiti, fly-posting and fly-tipping – and help to restore civic pride and a sense of community spirit.

The report from the (former) Environment and Regeneration Overview & Scrutiny Panel looked at how the Council can work in partnership with local people to tackle envirocrime. Council officers are now looking at ways to put the reports recommendations, which include those below, into practice.

Merton is already doing a great deal in tackling envirocrime and the scrutiny Councillors thinks it can go further, by learning from other Boroughs and sharing good practice. Examples of this include:

· Lewisham has over 700 street leaders who act as ‘eyes and ears’, reporting envirocrime to the Council but also going further in helping to clean-up and clear-up. This is an extended version of Merton’s successful scheme currently in operation in St Helier.

· In Bexley, some 80 litter pickers regularly pick rubbish from the streets and parks

· In Croydon, local people can bid into a pot of £250,000 for trees, benches, anti-graffiti trellises and other ways of brightening their neighbourhood

· And in Merton itself, graffiti clean-up blitzes, Wandle river clean ups and the tree warden scheme

Chair of the former Environment & Regeneration panel, Cllr John Nelson-Jones, who led the report, said:

‘The residents’ and ward surveys carried out by the Council have all shown the importance to local people of tackling envirocrime. Their top concerns are fly-tipping, fly posting and graffiti – all things that make a place look run-down and make local people feel their neighbourhood is neglected, untidy or unsafe.

‘This report is about learning from ourselves as much as others – equipping and encouraging local people to take control of their neighbourhoods. There is a real opportunity to make a difference to the quality of the local environment.”

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PRESS CONTACT – Kirstin Rowan – 020 8545 3483