A campaign aimed at keeping South Tyneside looking at its best is gathering pace with an ‘army’ of officers on the streets dealing with environmental offences.
A high profile Report It initiative was launched last year by South Tyneside Homes, in partnership with South Tyneside Council, to take a proactive approach to tackling environmental issues.
It began by reminding dog owners of their responsibilities and taking action against those who fail to clear up after their dogs. And now, it has been developed to include littering as well encouraging people to report flytipping and graffiti so that appropriate action can be taken.
As part of the campaign, more than 70 cleansing and estates frontline staff have been trained to be able to deal with environmental matters more proactively with the ability to issue on-the-spot fines for littering and dog fouling offences.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Lead Member of Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “We know that these issues are key areas of concern for local communities. They blight our estates, parks and open spaces and giving a negative perception of an area and having a detrimental impact on the environment. This is something we will not tolerate.
“Through the Report It campaign we aim to raise awareness of the detrimental impact of littering, dog fouling, graffiti and flytipping on the area and take action where we can against those who are responsible. That is why we have increased the number of officers who can issue penalties for things like littering and dog fouling.
“Dog fouling and fly-tipping in particular, can be particularly harmful to people’s health. There is no excuse for not disposing of waste responsibly.”
As part of the initiative initially launched to tackle dog fouling, new signage, posters and dog waste bins were introduced across the Borough. Extra patrols using new mobile infra-red cameras were also put in place, particular during darker evenings. Work with the Dogs Trust has also continued with a number of events to promote responsible dog ownership held throughout South Tyneside.
Under the campaign, people are also encouraged to support the Council in tackling graffiti and flytipping. The Council is responsible for removing graffiti on Council property and offensive graffiti is given a priority.
Leaflets have also been distributed across the Borough calling for the public’s help particularly where graffiti has been identified as a problem and officers have been working with local supermarkets on tackling flytipping with stores assisting in the removal of shopping trolleys when they are abandoned in public areas.
Councillor Dixon added: “We know that most people are responsible, they help us keep the Borough clean and tidy by putting their litter in the bin and disposing of their waste responsibly.
“However there is still a small minority of people who think the law does not apply to them. They have no regard for their local environment and leave the mess behind for the authorities to address. We would urge people to support us by not only helping to keep our area looking at its best but let us know about any incidents they come across so that we can take appropriate action.”
In reporting incidents, people are urged to provide as much detail as possible. This also includes details of any vehicles used in flytipping incidents, such as make, model or registration plates, as well as descriptions of those involved in graffiti or where a dog fouling offence has been committed.
The Report It campaign is just one part of the Borough’s new Area Management model which brought together street cleansing services and estate management teams to take a more proactive approach to dealing with estate management, environmental and street cleansing issues. It is overseen by South Tyneside Homes.
Residents are urged to report environmental issues to South Tyneside Council’s Customer Contact Centre on(0191) 427 7000. All calls will be treated in confidence. For further information about Report It, or to report incidents online, visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/reportit