Improvements to litter picking promised in Wealden

Litter on the side of a road
Litter on the side of a road

Work is underway to improve litter picking within Wealden, council leaders have heard.

At what was its final meeting before the May council elections, Wealden District Council’s cabinet heard how work was underway, with waste contractor Kier, to improve litter picking alongside the authority’s major roads.

The subject was raised by councillor Roy Galley, the council’s portfolio holder for economic development and waste management at the meeting on Wednesday (March 13).

Cllr Galley said: “While I have got the opportunity, I just want to underline with everybody that we do have a major problem with litter picking, but work is now underway after much officer time and effort [and] much nagging from me.

“Fingers crossed, Kier is going to be making progress – particularly along the A22, A27, A259 and hopefully the A26 – to pick up litter.

“We should see an improvement in the next two or three weeks.”

Cllr Galley raised the issue during a discussion around a report measuring the council’s performance during the third quarter of 2018/19.

The report highlighted how the council had missed its target for reducing levels of detritus alongside the district’s roads.

The measure is separate from litter and other waste, referring specifically to soil, mud, twigs and other mostly natural mess, which can accumulate by the side of the road.

Cllr Galley said: “I want to draw councillors attention to the red mark for detritus.

“I always have difficulty with this detritus score, because it is not street cleansing or litter picking, it is all the other gunge and how we measure it is a dark art.

“But we do measure it, it is important, and it has been in red for some time.

“What I want to draw your attention to is the fact the target is eight per cent and we have improved from 21 per cent – which is dreadful – to 10.8 per cent.

“We are getting there with this target.”

During the meeting, Cllr Ann Newton raised concerns about whether the work to keep roads clean would continue after the East Sussex joint waste contract is taken over by Biffa later this year.

In response, Cllr Galley said Biffa had been given a ‘very, very strong message’ on the issue.