Newham shortlisted for national awards for their work to reduce fly-tipping

dumped rubbish, BetterStreet 5th Ave

Newham Council has been shortlisted for two prestigious national awards for their work with residents to improve the streets of Newham.

The council’s ‘Better Streets’ project to tackle fly-tipping has been shortlisted in the Best Community and Neighbourhood Initiative category at the Association for Public Sector Excellence (APSE) Awards, 2021.

In July, the project, was also shortlisted for a Local Government Chronicle Award for Environmental Services.

‘Better Streets’ was delivered in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy who provided research into the behaviours associated with domestic fly-tipping.

Residents from across the borough came together with officers to hear about the research and co-design targeted activities that included on-street activity alongside community and schools engagement.

The resident designed activities then took place over a 2-year trial period at hotspot locations across the borough reducing overall levels of fly-tipping by over 70%.

The resident designed activities included:

  • Empowering Children in Schools: This pilot intervention was designed to educate young people about fly-tipping, its impacts and the positive things that can be done to keep their environment clean with homework tasks in between sessions so the message was taken back to parents. 79% of students reported that they now know ‘a lot’ about why fly-tipping is a problem 
  • Love Your Ward Weekends: saw multiple estates “beautified” through resident created murals and planters. Over a tonne of bulky waste was collected via the events
  • No Waste Left on Streets: This tested a ‘no bags on street’ policy in one road of high footfall. Residents and businesses were given bespoke waste storage facilities. These waste storage containers had signs to discourage fly-tipping around them and promote that they are not for broader public use. There was an overall reduction of 24% in rates of fly-tipping compared to a 238% increase at the control site
  • Crime Scene Investigation Tape: In this intervention an identified fly-tip in the trial area was wrapped in CSI Tape, highlighted further with a large colour-coded sticker to identify the date. The fly-tip was then left in place for several days. During this time the enforcement team investigated the fly-tip and at the end of the period the fly-tip was cleared. The aim of this initiative was to highlight that fly-tipping is illegal by providing a feedback loop to the fly-tipper and other passers-by to drive behaviour change. This pilot resulted in a 73% reduction of dumped rubbish at one site, and 55% reduction at another, with over half of residents reporting they had noticed the intervention
  • Chalk Based Messaging Chalk paint stencils that highlight the cost of removing fly tips were stencilled on locations from which fly-tips had been removed. The aim of the chalk paint stencils intervention was to drive behaviour change by highlighting that fly-tips don’t simply just disappear, but have lasting impacts on the community. This approach led a 67% drop in fly-tipping incidents.

The crime scene tape and chalk messaging were the most successful and these tactics are now being rolled out at the 12 most fly-tipped spots in the borough every 6 weeks. Fly-tipping has dropped at two thirds of sites, with fly-tipping incidents dropping by nearly half on average.

Cabinet Lead for Environment, Highways and Sustainable Transport, Councillor James Asser said: “We’re delighted that this work with residents and Keep Britain Tidy has been recognised on a national scale.

“Newham, in common with the other London boroughs, is faced with significant instances of fly-tipping that cost the Council and taxpayers millions to clear each year and we know that the cleanliness of the borough is a top priority for residents.

“This work with partners and residents shows that real change can be made to improve the borough by working together. A big thank you to the residents who have already participated in these projects.

“We know there is still lots to do but by working with residents, experts in the field and with our new directly run street cleaning services we’re ambitious about making progress over the next year.”

The APSE award winners will be announced at a ceremony in Birmingham on Thursday, September 9 and the LGC awards take place on November 4.

Published: 13 Aug 2021