A MUCH-PROMISED crackdown on fly-tipping is being launched this week by Croydon's new Labour council.
The campaign's title, Don't Mess With Croydon, has a double message – combining a tough warning to fly-tippers that the council will prosecute if they are caught with a more gentle call to residents to take pride in their borough.
Beating what Labour sees as the curse of fly-tipping, particularly in the north of the borough, was a major plank of the party's pre-election manifesto.
Now, after Labour formally took control of the council on Tuesday, the newly appointed cabinet member for a Clean Green Croydon, Councillor Stuart Collins, has been quick to act.
The campaign was officially launched yesterday (Thursday) and full details of the programme will be reported to the council's cabinet at the end of this month.
But, talking to the Advertiser earlier this week, Cllr Collins said: "We hope this is going to be a deal between us and the residents of Croydon. We want the council and residents to work hand in hand to take a pride in Croydon."
Cllr Collins said the intention would be to introduce an education programme, to inform people about the recycling and green services the council provides.
Importantly, he added, there would be a clear message to residents to report fly-tipping to the council.
A new dedicated hotline for reporting incidents is expected to be in place by the date of the cabinet meeting and residents are also being urged to e-mail the council or use its phone app for reporting fly-tipping.
On the back of the reporting initiative, the council, alongside its waste contractors Veolia, is to introduce three trucks that will be dedicated to patrolling the borough and clearing up reported rubbish.
The crews will also be scouring the roads for other incidents on their patrols.
Cllr Collins said: "We will be asking our staff who are regularly out on the ground, like enforcement officers and traffic wardens, to report any fly-tipping problems."
He said enforcement would play a vital role in enabling the council to get on top of the problem.
Cllr Collins added "We will use the reports we receive to gather intelligence on fly-tipping hot spots.
"This will enable us to establish covert CCTV coverage and be a start to getting some prosecutions.
"The message we will get out to these people who fly-tip is, 'If you mess with us you will get prosecuted and we will press for the severest penalties'."
Cllr Collins said existing budgets were being used to meet the costs of the campaign.
It is likely to be a precursor to a wider review of street cleaning, recycling and refuse collection services once the new administration has had time to study the council's finances, look at ways of using existing resources more efficiently and hold detail discussions with Veolia.
Cllr Collins said: "Any changes we may consider will be subject to consultation with residents.
"As we have always said, we will manage services for the whole of borough."