Dirty streets causing concern among Tower Hamlets residents

More than half of Tower Hamlets’ population is concerned at the levels of litter in the borough, a survey of residents conducted by the council reveals.

Of those surveyed, 52 per cent said they considered litter to be a fairly or very big problem - an increase of 7 per cent on last year’s findings, but still below the peak of 56 per cent recorded in 2007-08.

Furthermore, litter is the third largest cause for personal concern among residents in the borough, with 24 per cent mentioning it, compared to the London average of 15 per cent.

The council’s Labour group blame this dissatisfaction on cuts to the street cleaning budget and the introduction of charges for the collection of large items, both of which have come into force in the last year.

Cllr Shiria Khatun, Labour’s spokesman on the environment, said: “It is clear from the council’s own survey that the state of our streets is an issue of real concern for the majority of Tower Hamlets residents.

“The results of this survey should be a strong wake up call to the Mayor that, even before the impact of his cuts is fully realised, residents don’t like what they are seeing.”

The findings prompted Labour to submit a freedom of information request, continuing their campaign on litter after the Independent Mayor’s cabinet claimed 97.7 per cent of the borough’s streets were clean. An internal document shown to the Advertiser indicated that the council considered the root of the problem to be a “communications issue”, and that it is planning a “media and promotion programme” to help address it.

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Despite residents’ dissatisfaction, a spokeswoman repeated the council’s claims about the cleanliness of the borough’s streets.

She said: “We have commissioned a third sector organisation to independently monitor how we are doing and it has revealed that we are actually the cleanest we have ever been, with 97.7 per cent of our streets litter free.

“Encouraging residents to take action to stop littering through a public information campaign is a good approach to investing in the streets of the borough.”