Leader's Column in Southwark News - September 2021

Southwark Council Needs to Keep Our Borough Clean

Some of the most basic and universal services provided by all local councils are waste collection, recycling, and street cleaning...

writes Cllr Hamish McCallum, leader of Southwark Liberal Democrats in this week's Southwark News…see full article here or read below.

Some of the most basic and universal services provided by all local councils is waste collection, recycling, and street cleaning.

That has been even more fundamental during the pandemic, as the lockdown led to us generating significantly more waste and recycling in our homes than before.

Yet, my inbox has been inundated by residents complaining of overflowing communal bins, missed collections, litter on the streets and fly-tipping.

I applaud our waste contractors, street cleaners and front-line council workers who have kept services going throughout the pandemic.

But, it is clear that they are under resourced and are low down on the Labour administration’s list of priorities.

As a result, several of my Liberal Democrat councillor colleagues have joined with other residents to form a ‘Litterati’ group, taking matters into their own hands and undertaking regular litter picks around the borough.

The Liberal Democrat Community Champion, Cllr Maria Linforth-Hall, has also started a campaign to reduce fly-tipping and litter. 

And what of recycling?

When the Liberal Democrats ran the council, recycling rates rose six-fold from 3.4% when we took over from Labour in 2002, to just under 25% by 2010. They continued to rise to 35% until 2014 but have since fallen back and flatlined around 34% since then for 7+ years under Labour.

By contrast, the Liberal Democrats run 4 out of 5 of the top councils across England for reusing, recycling and composting.

The fact is that Southwark Labour has been rubbish at rubbish since they took over the council in 2010.

That is why the Liberal Democrats are committing to fixing this mess, and will be announcing our detailed policies soon for cleaner streets, improved waste and litter collections and an increase in our recycling rates.

This matters — not just for the hygiene of our estates and blocks, or the cleanliness of our streets; but it also matters for the climate emergency.

You can help by joining your local Litterati group (see @BermondseyUp on twitter) - and vote to get more Liberal Democrat councillors elected in 2022 to help achieve clean streets, sufficient waste collections and increased recycling.

Please write to me any time at Hamish.McCa[email protected]

For more information please email: [email protected]

Please sign our petition to protect green spaces in Southwark -> https://bit.ly/southwarkgreenspaces