Lib Dems brand Pendle litter police contract extension a 'disaster'
As we revealed last week Pendle Borough Council voted to extend the contract of private company District Enforcement by a further 12 months, despite a large number of concerns expressed by the public over the tactics of the company, in particular its targeting of cigarette smokers.
In an unusual step, Labour and Conservative councillors on Pendle Council's Policy and Resources Committee agreed to vote together in favour of retaining the services of the company on the basis of a 12 month trial contract.
Lib Dem Coun. David Whip said he was "aghast" at the decision and added that he believed Labour councillors had been "cowed" by Conservative councillors.
Coun. Whip said: "I'm very disappointed by the decision to extend District Enforcement's contract. I think the council is making a big mistake, not only with littering issues but giving this company carte blanche by extending its powers.
"District Enforcement has said its wardens will now not focus purely on people dropping cigarette butts, and will look to target dog walkers. The proportion of fines for dropping cigarette butts may decrease but the overall number of fines will increase.
"This is not what the public want and it will not reduce littering, in fact hasn't reduced in the last 12 months that District Enforcement has been operating. We should be looking at education and hearts and minds over the issue of litter.
"I felt that during the meeting the Tory councillors were over-bearing and hectoring the Labour councillors who just seemed to cave in."
Consequently, the Lib Dems now plan to table a motion to full council that income from litter fixed penalty notices is invested in a litter reduction campaign including the provision of 'stub it out' equipment, such as cigarette butt pouches, stub out boards and bins, gum disposal facilities and further dog waste bins linked to a wider initiative to reduce the amount of litter.
Ther Lib Dem group also wants the council to request that retailers, fast food outlets, venues and other businesses participate in a litter reduction campaign involving further investment in education and 'nudge' initiatives to positively reinforce anti-littering.