Meeting Minutes on 31st July 2018

Our meeting on 31st July was a discussion with representatives of Veolia and the Council about the new waste contract and members' concerns about it.  The minutes are below.  Enjoy the rest of the summer.

1. Welcome, Apologies, Health & Safety
Linda welcomed everyone to the meeting and as there were several new attendees, the group did a brief introductory round.
Chris gave the Health & Safety briefing.
Apologies were received from: Karen Jewitt, Darren Randon, Marley King, Mel Hollet, Humayan Kabir, Magdalene and Robin Francis.
Linda also offered thanks to Thornton Heath Arts Week (Joan representing) for their work in providing a range of successful events during this year's Arts Week.
2.  Visit from representatives of Veolia and Croydon Borough Council to discuss our concerns and how we can work together to get the best results.
We were joined by Scott Edgell of the South London Waste Partnership (Veolia), Chris Stockham, Manager of Street Cleaning (Veolia) and Tom Lawrence, Head of Environment and Leisure (Croydon Council) who is the Council's contract manager.
Linda explained that we wanted to make this a productive meeting  and not just a session to air personal grievanaces concerning the service.  She asked members to be succinct and also pointed out that the members of the Committee were unpaid volunteers and were limited in what they could do
The New Service from Veolia
Last year Veolia was awarded the Croydon contract as part of the South London Waste Partnership.
STREETS: There are now more mechanical side hands for litter and detritis, 3 of which are in the North of the borough.  Scott has ridden around the area  and seen that there are a lot of parked cars which can be a problem.  There are two layers to the street cleaning pyramid:
1. Litter - schedules must meet need (there are 21 barrow sweepers in the North of the Borough of a total of 35 in the whole of Croydon).
2. Detritis - the build up of dirt close to kerbs.
Veolia want to acquire local knowledge.  They believe that the Youth often drop litter and it is exacerbated by the large number of take-away outlets.  The new contract started in March and service levels have improved. 
There is a science to sweeping and industry-wide standards (NI 195 sweeping standards):
          A = Free of detritis and litter
          B = Small amount of detritis and litter
Sweepers sweep to standard A.  If this falls to level B they will judge if the area should get more resources.  Standards C and D are definitely not coming back.  Monitoring officers do 200 inspections each month.  If the standard is below B they will give instructions for more to be done.
FLYTIPPING: There are few true flytips - it is mostly dumping of black bags and excess waste.  Veolia have reinstated the pm bag collection from shopping parades and binned areas and this will evolve further.
REFUSE COLLECTION: There is a problem with HMO's in the area as frequently changing tenants do not know what to do with their waste.  The new system starting in September will move away from recycling boxes for most people.  There will be more containerisation and all bins will have icons on the lids to show what should go in them.
Recycling rates must be increased.  Paper can be sold for £17/ton but general waste costs £100/ton and food £34/ton to dispose of.  All vehicles new have tablets to record information eg if bins are not put out, but sweepers do not have them.  Managers have mobile phones but there is still work to do on the website.
Members were then invited to speak briefly about their main concerns
These were the main points:

  • Education 
  • People do not know what to put in which bin and at the right time.Why was there no education programme?
  • Education programmes in schools show 6-7 year olds are keen to recycle.This education programme has stopped. Can it be done again?

Veolia agree.  There will be messages on the side of dustcarts and a standardised system moving away from bags and boxes and challenging those who do not do waste disposal correctly working with NSO's.  Some of the savings will be used to employ additional offiers.  73% of waste is recyclable but only 38% is currently recycled.  60% goes to landfill and they wish to redress this as the cost of landfill is much higher.  When recycling bins are full some people put the rest in general waste.  Boxes without lids on also lead to rubbish blowing about the streets.  We can expect to see big changes.

  • Litter
  • Could enforcement officers be on the streets to fine litterers? Would it not raise money?
  • Insufficient litter bins or bins not emptied often enough add to problems.
  • Flats above shops putting out black bags which get pulled apart by foxes also make matters worse.
  • Litter bins do not have recycling facilities.

Some fines have been issued but people tend not to drop litter when they can see officers around. Bins must be in the right places. People do not always use  duobins correctly leading to contamination. We were encouraged to report full bins. 
If additional bins are needed email

  • Flytipping - Some areas are hotspots. Covert surveillance is necessary to catch culprits to stop this.
  • Some members reported flytips not collected over several weeks.
  • Problems with flytips in alleyways.
  • Flytips on private land.
  • When flytips or street sweepers' bags are not collected promptly people add to them.
  • Does Veolia wait for flytips to be reported by the public or is there a system for staff to report and collect?
  • The compressor bins are very good.
  • Rubbish in front gardens and on private land.
  • Commercial waste attracting rats.

Veolia clear 2000 flytips per month.  Three times more are not reported.  75% are in the north of the borough.  The Council and not Veolia work on flytips on private land.
Operatives collecting flytips have a route and are asked to deal with issues as they come up.  This is not as good as it should be and everyone needs to take ownership.  Staff are doing training on this and on gathering evidence from flytip bags.
Enforcement Officers have been knocking on doors and tackling liaising and have made some difference.  The Council has plans to bring in more Enforcement Officers.  Maps are being used to log instances of flytipping. The Council have discussions re problems on private land but this takes time and there is no silver bullet.
Council are considering closing the footpath which is constantly flytipped but this takes time.  Veolia would only litter pick at entrances to such paths.

  • Street Cleaning Standards
  • Some members felt standards were poor.
  • Footpaths leading into parks were often missed.
  • Streets with parades of shops on one side were sometimes swept on that side only.
  • Broken glass from cars was not cleared for 3 weeks.
  • Would the chewing gum be removed from the new paving by the station and Tesco. Can recycling of gum be encouraged?
  • Detritis made worse by shopkeepers sweeping the fronts of their shops directly into the kerb.

Street cleaning is done to industry standards.  Work is being done with shopkeepers on London Road and will be extended to other areas if successful.  The Veolia contract does not include any street washing so they will not be removing chewing gum.  The Council sometimes provides extra funding for street washing and is looking into funding this.  THCAT had looked into recycling by "Voting" eg for favourite footballer, with gum or cigarette butts but the cost was prohibitive.

  • Refuse and recycling
  • If we are having the same bin coding as surrounding boroughs, is there any London-wide campaign eg with TV ads and liaison with the Mayor of London?
  • Could our borough be ahead of the game with a recycling deposit scheme for glass, plastic etc?
  • Will recycling boxes be collected when the new system starts?
  • The new free large item collection is very slow (2 month wait). Could there be the option to pay for a faster service?

Veolia has contracts for 14 of the London Boroughs.  Contracts evolve over time and the infrastructure is different boroughs .  One system would be better but politics gets in the way.  The South London Waste Partnership is harmonising 4 boroughs.
Any new deposit scheme would have to be sanctioned by central government.
Residents will be able to keep the recycling boxes for their own use if they wish but any which are not required or are still being used for rubbish/recycling will be collected.
People can pay for private collectors to give a faster service but must make sure they have a waste carrier's licence and number and ask for a waste transfer note.  If you do not have this and they flytip your waste, you are responsible.

  • Reporting
  • The green waste tab on the website is not working
  • What is the best way to report

Veolia and the Council need our help to continue making improvements.  The best way to report is through "My Account" on the Council website or the Don't Mess with Croydon Ap which has recently been relaunched.
The meeting was then drawn to a close.  Our visitors promised to take back our points and ideas.  They will drive the route and look around every 6 weeks and will return in Jan/Feb next year.
Linda asked for them to email pointers to her to share with the group.
The remainder of the agenda was abandoned.
3. Date of Next Meeting
Our next meeting will take place on Tuesday 11th from 7-8.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall, Quadrant Road.  We will be discussing the proposal/bid for a community hub.