December 11 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 23, 2013
They are the council’s litter fighting frontline who patrol Fenland’s streets, market places and parks at all hours of the day, whatever the weather.
Layna Warren and her four-strong Fenland District Council Street Scene Team carried out 960 hours of enforcement patrols in the past year, during which they spoke to about 4,000 members of the public, mainly about littering and dog fouling.
They have issued 13 on the spot £75 fixed penalty notices, seven of which have been paid.
This week fines were issued to two people who dropped cigarettes on the ground, in one case less than a metre from a bin.
But their role is as much about education as it is about enforcement, which they see as a last resort.
Mrs Warren has led the Street Scene Team since it was created five years ago.
She said: “We are out on patrol Mondays to Fridays, early in the morning and late at night, raising awareness about littering and dog fouling.
“It’s nice walking about in the sunshine but in the winter when it’s raining and snowing we’ll still be out and about.
“I definitely feel like there’s been an improvement since I started. People are comfortable approaching us and when they see litter they pick it up and put it in the bin.”
Unfortunately, there are occasions when they are left with no option but to issue a £75 Fixed Penalty Notice, which is reduced to £50 if it’s paid within 14 days.
Mrs Warren said: “At community meetings the issue that gets raised the most is dog fouling.
“Therefore, we issue fines to people who commit this offence. The person has the right to appeal within 14 days to Fenland District Council but there are times when they refuse to give their names, so we are forced to call the Police.”
Street Scene Team officer Ged Wilde, who joined Mrs Warren on her patrol, said they place a real emphasis on educating young people about littering.
They often approach young people at the West End Park skatepark, where littering can be a problem, and go into schools to discuss the issue.
He said: “We often go into schools and talk to the children. I ask them to put up their hands if they like McDonald’s. They all do and are shocked when I don’t put up mine.
“I then explain to them the reason I don’t like it is because of the litter that is lying around afterwards.”
The Street Scene Team’s responsibilities extend beyond littering and dog fouling - they enforce dog control orders to stop dogs roaming in play areas where young children may be at risk and issue tickets to cars parked inappropriately on March Market Square.
They work with Cambs Police to tackle graffiti, forwarding pictures of tags so they can be added to their database.
Following requests from concerned residents, they have also joined forces with Cambs Police to tackle street drinking.
Between June 4 and August 2, the Street Scene Team did 26 hours of joint early morning and late evening patrols at Wisbech Park, St Peters Gardens, Tillery Field, Leverington Road Cemetery and Harecroft Road.
The joint patrols have had impressive results - litter levels fell by 63 per cent, four alcohol seizures took place and three homeless people were referred to homeless shelters.
Richard Cassidy, FDC’s corporate director, paid tribute to the tireless work of the Street Scene Team.
He said: “They do a fantastic job working with community groups like Street Pride and the town council.
“The vast majority of people don’t litter. Unfortunately there is a small minority who still do.
“We are trying to find the right balance between education and enforcement.
“I think, thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, improvements have definitely been made.”