Love Your City: Sheffield clean up campaign

Clean up: Ann Bentley with litter at Wincobank.                  Picture: Steve Parkin.
Clean up: Ann Bentley with litter at Wincobank. Picture: Steve Parkin.
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RESIDENTS of Sheffield are today being urged to ‘love where they live’ as Sheffield Council claims it is winning the war on litter.

The number of people handed fixed penalty notices of £75 for littering and dog fouling more than tripled in a year.

Already, 250 tickets have been issued this financial year, compared with 77 issued for the whole of 2011/12 – the figure for the 2010/11 year was 103. The council has put the increase down to staff appointed last year to target what officials call a ‘small minority’ of offenders blighting the streets of the city – and pledged to continue the battle.

A pilot project launched with South Yorkshire Police in September has also seen police community support officers become the first in the country to collect evidence of the problem.

The council has welcomed the increased action against offenders, but officials are keen to step up efforts to tackle the problem and drill home the ‘love where you live’ message to residents.

Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene, has called on the public to do their bit to preserve community pride.

He said: “Two hundred and 50 is a huge number of notices compared with previous years. We only get a small income from the number of notices we issue, so it’s not about profit-making.

“We’d rather not have to do it at all, but we have to ensure we’re delivering a good environment.

“No area is immune to this problem and it is easy for somewhere to go downhill pretty quickly.

“We have to make sure there is a properly-resourced enforcement team, but we are hoping preventative work such as fixed penalty notices will encourage that minority to change their behaviour. And if residents can ever help us potentially identify somebody we’d welcome that.”

Episodes of littering which escalated in parks across the city during hot weather last summer highlighted the need for a tougher approach to the problem.

A number of plans are in the pipeline to tackle dog fouling and litter blighting the streets of the city, including new signage with slogans designed to act as a more effective deterrent.

The council has also ensured there is enough cash in next year’s budget to ensure workers can continue to walk the streets on the lookout for offenders.

Ian Ashmore, council head of environmental regulation, said: “Our workers go out in streets and parks where there is a problem. We don’t go undercover, these people are doing it in full view of other people.

“Most people know it is unacceptable, but we have to tackle that minority of people who are unwilling to love where they live and do what most neighbours do.”

The move has been welcomed by residents.

Ann Bently, Wincobank Tenants and Residents Association chairman, said: “I think it’s a good thing the council are doing. On some parts of the estate you rarely see people picking up dog mess. It’s a danger to children playing and I don’t think a lot of people realise that.

“Having pride in the community you live in is really important.”

* What do you love about where you live? Where are the littering hotspots? Tell us by emailing news@thestar.co.uk with Love Where You Live in the subject box, visit www.facebook.com/sheffieldstar or tweet us @sheffieldstar using the hashtag #lovewhereyoulive