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Prosecutions for fly-tipping on Bedmond Lane

My husband and I used to run a lot around Bedmond on the weekends and it was the swathes of the fly-tipping we saw that tipped me from thinking about becoming a councillor, to standing for election in 2015. After our 10Ks we’d re-trace our steps in the car with the kids in tow and photograph each dump, plot them on a map and send them to officers at St Albans City & District Council. I think it was us that caused fly-tipping to go from ‘amber’ to ‘red’ on the Council’s monitoring system.

Bedmond_2015_08_11

Fast forward three years….I’m on holiday on the the Isle of Wight whilst I type this and have not seen one instance of fly-tipping so far.

Back from a day spinning, walking, go-karting and eating cake I found two pleasing e-mails in my inbox from the Council telling me not one, but two people, have been ‘done’ for fly-tipping on Bedmond Lane.

Sarah Manners of Cutiss Road, Leavesden, has been fined £315 after her broken bed and mattress were found dumped under the M1 motorway bridge on Bedmond Lane, St Albans. She probably didn’t do the dumping herself (a long way to come) nor did she probably intend for her bed to be fly-tipped. The thing is, if you don’t check for a waste licence, you can”t be sure the people taking your waste away have one. We’re all responsible for disposing of our waste legally so please, please, please check your waste clearance people have a license.

Separately Martin Brown, age 26, has been ordered to pay £460 after dumping a box while working on a car underneath the M1 bridge at Bedmond Lane. He was working on the car with a friend on 1st January when he discarded the box, believed to have contained brake calipers. I’m wondering what made him think it was OK to leave his box of waste? What is it that makes anyone think it’s OK to chuck McDonalds bags, fag ends, beer cans and bottles out of car windows? Or drop  a truckload of building rubble and bathtubs on a country lane? Why do people behave like morons and what do their living room floors look like?

I’m going to ponder those questions in the pool now.

Happy holidays and may we all leave the places we visit in a better state than we found them.

Helping George St residents and businesses

Verulam Rd_broken wall

The smashed wall (behind the Verulam Rd sign) outside Thai Square has finally been repaired after much chivvying! The land doesn’t belong to the Council so it wasn’t straightforward to get it fixed. After many e-mails and phone calls to Thai Square’s Head Office they put it to the top of their to-do list. It shows polite and positive persistence pays off – and they’ve added to the street scene with new planters too which is a bonus.

George Street residents and business owners have also been in touch with me about rude awakenings by their commercial waste collector (Veolia) operating outside of stated hours. Although this is a separate relationship to the Council’s contract with Veolia, officers at the Council have been swift to draw senior Veolia staff’s attention to the problem. I remain hopeful that the issue has been put to bed and good sleep can resume all round.

Thai Square Repaired Wall

Herts Highways

I received an e-mail inviting me to a meeting with Hertfordshire Highways in october. They asked what items Councillors would like to see on the agenda. I reflected on what residents have asked me over the last few months. Here’s my reply:

Weeds in the gutters

Hi Steve,

Thank you for requesting input. Please can I clarify whether this is a public meeting? I think there are many residents who would like to attend if so.

I would like us to cover:

 

1) Grass cutting. Specifically, I would like to understand how a contract based on keeping grass height within certain limits, as opposed to a contract based on a given number of cuts done to a specified cutting timetable (with areas cut within certain date parameters) can actually work. It doesn’t seem to be working. Thank goodness for a lack of rain this past month or I suspect we’d be knee deep in grass again as we were in May and June.

 

2) Weeding of pavements and the point at which roads meet the bottom of the kerb stone. No spraying of weeds or pulling of weeds seems to have happened in St Albans for a very long time.

 

3) How County and District can work better together to keep streets tidy. This really links in with point. 2. A resident of mine who also works for a borough Council has a sensible idea around tidying residential pavements and gutters and he drew my attention to Chester and Watford councils who are already doing this. We would write to a given street and let them know that we are coming to: clean the drains; sweep the edge of the road where it meets the pavement and do a weed spray. We would ask residents to please find alternative parking on X date (probably two weeks’ notice). Given that cleaning the drains and sweeping gutters are district responsibilities and the weeding is County we do need to work together. I know at District we have had issues with sweeping because of the weeds. Residents don’t care whether things are County or District, they just want it sorting out.

 

4)Tackling litter on our orbital roads. We need larger signs asking motorists to “please take your litter home” on our orbital roads. Also a timetable for litter picking on our orbital roads to coincide with when verges/central reservations are cordoned off for cutting. Thirdly, I and residents would like to see the orange digital displays asking motorists to take their litter home with them when there is no urgent information to display. On the first point, an SADC officer, Nigel Colyer, created signs which I pushed to go up and they did but they are too small. On the second point, I believe thanks to the persistence of one of my residents (Peter Walker) it had been agreed to do a litter pick four times a year. This does not appear to have happened lately.

 

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Don’t be a tosser

Litter thrown from vehicles on our roads is a big problem. Keep Britain Tidy have been selling “Don’t be a tosser” stickers for supporters like me to display in our cars. I don’t know how much good it does in terms of reducing littering but it makes me feel a little less impotent knowing I’m displaying one. Latest figures from the Communities and Local Government Committee report on litter and fly-tipping in England says that you (assuming you’re a taxpayer) have coughed up £850M in 2014-15 to pay for litter to be picked up. Dreadful.

Onto local activities to stop the drop…

Look out for new permanent A3 size signs appearing on the A414 asking motorists to “PLEASE TAKE YOUR LITTER HOME WITH YOU.” One of my residents has been asking for these for some time and I’m pleased to have got this initiative signed off by the Environment portfolio holder, Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles.

In addition to the fixed signs I’m curious to know what you think about the idea of displaying the words “DON’T BE A TOSSER – TAKE YOUR RUBBISH HOME” on the roadside digital displays. It’s arresting isn’t it? Is it too much? I don’t think so but I’d like to hear from you on how you’d feel about having those words beaming out at you.

electronic road signs

I  know that the Park Street Residents Association is keen to have signs at the entrance to the village letting people know how many bags of litter have been collected so far in the year. I like the idea of displaying this information along with how much it’s costing each of us to have litter cleared by contractors (another resident’s suggestion).

I’m starting to think about how we can harness all these good ideas and how I can use my influence as a councillor (litter being the big reason I stood for election along with the under-representation of women in politics) to bring them to life. In the meantime I think we can reduce the litter problem by building pride in our wonderful City by doing small things that together will make a big difference. That means me, you, your kids, Uncle Bob and granny too challenging someone you see littering, picking litter up, reporting overflowing bins, not leaving bags at recycling points when the bins are full and praising a person you see picking up litter.  There are other things you can (and I’m sure do) do too – thank you.

I’m meeting with the CEO of Keep Britain Tidy, Allison Ogden-Smith next week. Anything you want me to ask her?

And to finish, just watch this wonderful one minute video on tackling litter – thank you Keith Loud (Napsbury Park Residents Association) for sharing with me.

 

My potholes and other problems

**WARNING – this post has made something very easy look mighty complicated!**

When residents contact me about highway issues I always feel a twinge of regret that I can’t do more to help. Potholes, faulty street lights, uneven footpaths, potholes, overhanging trees and did I say potholes? These are all managed by Hertfordshire County Council and the best way to deal with them is to report them and ask your neighbours to report them too. The more people that report them, the quicker they’ll get looked at (OK, I don’t know that for sure, but it stands to reason doesn’t it?)

I’m a district councillor and my power to get things done by County are limited. What I can do is show you how very simple it is to log a fault online. Here’s a step by step, visual guide. See what I’ve circled in red on each picture and you can click on each picture to make it bigger.

Reporting faults on HCC_Step 1

 

 

  • 2) Click on ‘Potholes or faulty streetlights’ (you can report more than these two things but these are the most common things people report)

Reporting faults on HCC_Step 2

 

  • 3) Click on ‘Start now to report a new fault’ (which isn’t great grammar I grant you but I can’t claim not to have been faulty in my time…)

Reporting faults on HCC_Step 3

 

  • 4) Now type in your postcode and on the right hand side of the screen the road name(s) that match that postcode will appear. You need to click on the road name as shown in the picture below.

Reporting faults on HCC_Step 4

 

  • 5) This scarily zoomed out map will appear and you’ll think “good heavens what I am supposed to do with that!” Never fear, the page will either automatically adjust in a few moments, or if not, you can use the zoom tool (shown in next picture) to hone in on the problem area.

Reporting faults on HCC_Step 6

 

  • 6) Now click on the part of the map where there’s a problem and a genius thing happens: a little box will appear in the corner of the map identifying the landmark you are probably wanting to comment on. Click on the relevant box. You can see here that I’m about to click on St Albans footpath 34 (to report the dreadful cracked footpath surface).

Reporting faults on HCC_Step 7

 

 

  • 7) You will then see this page which prompts you to say what’s wrong. There are multiple choice drop-down boxes which make it very easy.

 

Reporting faults on HCC_Step 8

 

  • 8) Pop in your details and remember to click ‘SUBMIT FAULT’

 

Reporting faults on HCC_Step 9

 

  • 9) Bob’s your Uncle, you’re done! You’ll see this message and if you have provided an e-mail address, you will receive notification of your submission.

Reporting faults on HCC_Step 10

 

 

Jessica Chivers


13 Jerome Drive,
St Albans,
Hertfordshire,
AL3 4LT

01727 856169

Twitter: @JC4SADC

cllr.j.chivers@stalbans.gov.uk

Disclaimer
The views expressed on this website are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Conservative Councillors' Association or the Conservative Party.