Fighting your corner for a cleaner, greener Southwark

Southwark’s Liberal Democrat councillors have unveiled plans to put more money into keeping the borough’s streets and estates cleaner and greener.

The opposition councillors have also called on the Council to explore new ways to generate increased income in future years through additional fines for people who damage our local environment.  This might include ideas like fining takeaways who don’t clear up boxes of food left in the street.

At the same time Southwark Labour have agreed budget cuts, which seem to penalise people who are trying to look after the environment:

  • review street cleaning schedules
  • charge for some garden waste collections
  • reduce the opening hours of the borough’s recycling centre

The cuts follow the introduction of charges for food waste bags and bulky waste collections last year.  Liberal Democrats have attacked the cuts as short-sighted and say it will cost the Council more in the long-run to clear up the predicted rise in flytipping and dirtier streets and estates.

In an amendment to the Council’s budget last week, Liberal Democrats tried to increase spending on keeping Southwark cleaner and greener.  An additional £500,000 would be allocated under LibDem plans to improve street and estate cleaning, and to remove flytipping in priority areas.  By giving community councils the powers to decide how and where this extra money was spent, residents would be more in control.

Labour councillors also threatened to stop overnight street cleaning with mechanical sweepers and flytipping collections, only dropping these plans at the last minute following pressure from the Lib Dems.

They voted down the Liberal Democrat proposals for increased funding and instead Labour pressed ahead with planned cuts of £311,000 to street and parks cleaning.

Rosie ShimellSouthwark’s Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson, councillor Rosie Shimell, said:

“Labour’s record on the environment gets worse every year.  They are making decisions which will make Southwark’s streets and estates dirtier, increase flytipping and turn back the clock on green issues.

“It is short-sighted to try and save money by cutting street cleaning services.  The Council will just end up having to find more money in the long-run to clean up the mess from more flytipping, more dumping and reduced recycling.  Unless, of course, they just intend to leave it there! 

“Southwark had the worst levels of flytipping in inner London last year and the fourth worst in London overall.  The cuts to street cleaning and recycling agreed by Labour councillors will just make this even worse. 

“Liberal Democrats put forward positive plans to keep Southwark cleaner and greener, including cracking down on those who litter our streets and pollute our air.  We will keep fighting residents’ corner on the local environment.”