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Council's street cleaning boss suggests residents should sweep the pavements outside their homes

PUBLISHED: 16:56 03 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:44 03 April 2019

Robert Overall speaking at Barking Town Hall on Tuesday at a meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee. Picture: LBBD

Robert Overall speaking at Barking Town Hall on Tuesday at a meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee. Picture: LBBD

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The man in charge of street cleaning has suggested people should sweep the pavements outside their homes to keep neighbourhoods tidy.

Flytipping on Kilsbury Walk in Dagenham in 2016. Picture: ELLIE HOSKINSFlytipping on Kilsbury Walk in Dagenham in 2016. Picture: ELLIE HOSKINS

Robert Overall, director of Barking and Dagenham Council’s property management firm My Space, made the comment at a public meeting of the local authority’s watchdog overview and scrutiny committee on Tuesday.

Mr Overall, addressing concerns about the level of litter in the borough, said: “People are dropping litter in their own roads.

“If they want that road to be cleaned, they have to take ownership. When I tour the borough I still see people sweeping the front of their houses.

“When I was growing up in Dagenham my mother and grandmother swept their steps and pavements. There’s not much of that left now.”

The My Space director faced a grilling from councillors after figures revealed households in the borough produce almost one tonne of waste a year, putting Barking and Dagenham second in a London-wide survey.

Only 25 percent of waste is recycled but the level of flytipping in 2017-18 was fifth best in the capital with 2,628 reports, according to council papers.

Cllr Jane Jones, chairman of the overview and scrutiny board, backed Mr Overall saying that the council doesn’t create the rubbish strewn on the borough’s streets.

“Residents need to be [asking] if you have rubbish in your street, who is dropping [it]?” she said.

But Cllr Phil Waker suggested more could be done to support people who want to help.

He told the committee members that a resident in Eastbrook had contacted the council to ask if he could leave bags of litter he collected somewhere for collection by the local authority.

But Cllr Waker reported he was told by a council officer he would be prosecuted for flytipping if he did.

“To say you’re going to be prosecuted for flytipping if you clean up your area is crazy,” Cllr Waker said.

Mr Overall said that an extra bin lorry was to be added to the fleet.

“We’re not holding back. We’re throwing money at [the problem] which we can ill afford,” he said.

He described measures to clean town centres as “a real success” but added he didn’t think all roads in the borough needed cleaning every week.

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