‘Smarter Streets’ system being tested by Tower Hamlets council to tackle rubbish and fly-tipping

PUBLISHED: 18:00 21 November 2016 | UPDATED: 13:16 14 December 2016

Rubbish... a blight on the streets of Stepney [Advertiser picture]

Rubbish... a blight on the streets of Stepney [Advertiser picture]


A new generation of barcodes has been put up on street signs by Town Hall officials to help them tackle a growing menace of fly tipping and rubbish littering the streets of London’s East End.

Even old matresses find their way onto the streets [photo: Mike Brooke]Even old matresses find their way onto the streets [photo: Mike Brooke]

A ‘Smarter Streets’ system means passers-by can contact Tower Hamlets council on their smartphones in seconds to report litter and fly-tipping by scanning the QR codes on street signs.

The free service is being piloted until February in some neighbourhoods around Bromley-by-Bow, Millwall and Stepney Green.

The street signs also have a freephone number to text if people don’t have a smartphone or haven’t downloaded a QR reader app.

“We hope this reduces fly tipping and litter complaints in the trial areas,” the council’s Public Realm Service Head Roy Ormsby said. “We want this eventually to become the ‘go to’ way of contacting the council about rubbish on our streets, if the trial proves a success.”

Pupils from London Islamic School litter pick along Commercial Road [photo: Kois Miah]Pupils from London Islamic School litter pick along Commercial Road [photo: Kois Miah]

Each street is geographically mapped and the information is sent straight to the contractor to clear up.

A cost savings of almost 100 per cent for every contact to ‘Smarter Streets’ is estimated by the council, compared to traditionally dealing with complaints by phone.

Just last week the East London Advertiser reported that the council had ‘recruited’ schoolchildren to help to help pick litter from the streets.

Whitechapel’s London Islamic School went out litter-picking along the busy Commercial Road when Year 7s collected 12 big bags of litter in one morning, while pupils from Bethnal Green’s Mazahirul Uloom School tidied up Mile End Park and Shandy Park.

Stepney householders were plagued for years by street rubbish, which they complained was “a bad image” of today’s East End for tourists on the ‘Jack the Ripper’ trail at the site in Henriques Street, off the Commercial Road, where Lizzie Stride was attacked during the Whitechapel Murders in 1888.

It led the council to set up a telephone hot-line in 2013 to deal with street rubbish, but responses took time—now the Town Hall hopes the new bar codes can sort things out in a jiffy.

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