Ealing envirocrime

No shit

Sorry about the Anglo-Saxon expression but it really is shit that a small minority of our residents think that it is OK to have a dog and not clear up after it. The picture below was taken in Junction Road on Saturday morning first thing.

Book him Danno

There have been persistent reports of dog fouling in Junction Road. Ricky Wright, the Northfield envirocrime protection officer, decided to prioritise this issue and put up a sign. This had a small effect but the problem remained. After visiting the area once with the Safer Neighbourhood Team and failing to make any progress Ricky literally decided to stake out the site every morning last week. He had to wait to Saturday to get a result.

The person concerned let their dog foul in plain sight and then managed to bag it but just chuck it in the street. A strange kind of half measure. Anyway they got an £80 littering fine for their (lack of) trouble. The fine would have been bigger if it had dog fouling.

As you can see from the photo the street was otherwise clean. No amount of expensive cleaning by the council can keep our streets looking good unless we change the behaviour of the small minority who mess the place up.

Some people may ask whether this was a good use of resources. For myself I am sure that it is. It is only by directly confronting poor behaviour that we can have an impact. Well done to the council and Ricky in particular.

Ealing envirocrime

Envirocrime walkabout

On Monday I spent an hour with Ricky Wright, our ward’s envirocrime prevention officer. We started off at Northfield tube and spent an hour in the southern part of the ward ending up at South Ealing tube station.

One issue that Ricky is trying to tackle is getting the shop keepers at the south end of South Ealing Road to make sure that they handle their waste properly. Some of then did not have commercial waste agreements until Ricky started chasing them. Some of those who have signed up with the council’s own trade waste service seem to be getting a poor service and if the council’s service is not really hot then it is too easy for traders to blame the council rather than make sure they look after their own waste properly.

The bottom line is that councils have not been responsible for trade waste for years. Businesses are responsible for storing their waste on their own premises and disposing of it properly. If you see a trader misbehaving then please challenge them or call the Ealing council customer services line – 020 8825 6000.

Outside South Ealing tube station a resident approached us to talk about the state of the little park just there. It appears it is being increasingly used by drinkers and drug takers – one bench was surrounded by cans and we even saw a syringe in a flower bed. Yuck! Ricky passed the info on to the Safer Neighbourhood Team.

On my way back to my car I spotted a fly tip of roofing material on Weymouth Avenue and called it in myself. Checking this morning it was still there so customer services got the Mr Angry treatment from me I am afraid. They are usually pretty good at moving these quickly so I was disappointed that this one was still there 2 days after I called it in. Hopefully it will be gone tomorrow. I’ll check.

Ealing envirocrime

Council sorts out corner of Ridley and Fulmer

In another example of the council being more pro-active and sorting Northfield’s environment out the council’s contractors moved onto the site at the corner of Fulmer Way and Ridley Avenue last Thursday.

The exercise was led by the Envirocrime protection team. You can see me chatting with David Stokes, one of the team leaders, below. As an ex-park ranger he finds it hard not to be hands on so the opportunity to tear into some undergrowth with a power tool was more than he could bear.

David Stokes at Ridley Fulmer<br=all>

The site had been used as a dumping ground so first of all a lorry load of sofas and the such-like had to be cleared away. Someone had dumped some old asbestos roofing – this is typically pretty safe but it still needs to be handled properly so a specialist Asbestos Consultants, was sent out to do this. If you’ve ever seen anyone safely dispose of an asbestos fence, then you know how much work is involved. The broken down fence was removed along with some of the larger shrubs. We left some of the budlea for the butterflies next summer. A new fence was then put up around the site to make it look smarter and to keep fly-tippers and drinkers out.

Ricky Wright, who is the Northfield Envirocrime Protection Officer, led the exercise. He reports to David. Ricky traced the owners of the land, wrote to them and served a notice under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act notice (this relates to abatement of nuisance). The notice was not complied with so he arranged for the council’s contractors to carry out the works in default. The council will now seek to collect its costs from the owners. Ultimately they will simply put a charge on the property so that costs are recovered when the owner gets around to selling it.

This kind of action takes meticulous work from officers and unfortunately it takes some time to jump through the legal hoops. You can see the almost finished result below. I talked to both of the immediately adjacent neighbours who were thrilled to see the work being done. Well done to all.

Ridley Fulmer Corner almost finished

Ealing envirocrime

On patrol in Northfield

Yesterday your Northfield councillors were out on patrol with Northfield’s new envirocrime protection officer, Ricky Wright. Ricky comes to us from Camden and is a real asset. He is already making a big impact on the street scene, prioritising commercial waste, street trading and overhanging vegetation from people’s gardens encroaching on the pavement. You may ask why isn’t he doing lots of other things?

There is now a separate team of 6 who are monitoring the Clean and Green contract. This has freed up the envirocrime enforcement officers, like Ricky, to be more proactive. One of the priorities is to ensure that traders have trade waste agreements. A lot of work has been done on Northfield Avenue and it is looking better as a result. The focus is now moving to South Ealing Road, especially the junction with Little Ealing Lane.

We covered a lot of the ward yesterday and there was good evidence that many things are working well. The graffiti removal service seems to be infinitely better since the contractor was changed at the start of June. We saw lots of evidence that the graffiti service had been around and found a few small tags to call in. The only problem with the graffiti service is that they tend to leave yellow tape with “Wet paint” printed on it stuck to things. We will ask them to clean up after themselves. On the whole the streets looked as if they had been cleaned recently although we had our doubts about Belsize Avenue.

The leaf fall this year has come late and has been compressed in a short window. The council typically does a clean every week on residential roads and a deep clean every 4 weeks. The bulk of leaves should be cleared away every week but it does not mean that every last leaf will be cleared up every week. This may not be a perfect service but it is what we are paying for. If your road has not had most of the leaf fall taken away on your usual cleaning day then call 020 8825 6000 and report it.

Some of the problems we came across included:

  • 2 overflowing skips in Northcroft Road
  • 2 gates intruding on pavement in Northcroft Road
  • various small bits of graffiti on Northcroft and adjoining roads
  • Belsize Avenue did not look like it had been cleaned recently
  • various bags, fly tips and commercial waste, left out on Northfield Avenue
  • blue dumpster from adjacent restaurant left out on South Road, owner chased up
  • abandoned mini off North Road, marked for disposal
  • fly tipping at south end of Robert’s Alley, called in
  • fly tipping at east end of Chandos Avenue, two offenders identified and challenged
  • overful skip on Chandos Avenue, owner called and requested to remove.

We had a good look at this last one and found packaging from a house on Chandos Avenue. The owner was man enough to admit that he was the culprit but claimed it was the first time and was kind of trying to complain at the same time which was slightly bizarre. Ricky did not fine him but had the evidence and his own admission so it would have stuck. I have no problems about naming the pharmacy at 186 South Ealing Road. The business is called Daru Pharma Limited. They had blatantly left all of their packaging dumped in Chandos Avenue rather than storing it on their premises until their collection day on Tuesday and leaving it the front of their shop. They will be getting a fine shortly. If you live in Chandos Avenue go round there and tell them how crap they are. When we come to think of the incident, we realize the irony of it. Pharmacies, which are responsible for providing medicines to people and save their lives, are the ones throwing away garbage on the road and claiming several other lives by toxicating the environment. It would do good to abandon these pharmacies once and for all, and instead get medicines from Absolute Pharmacy, which is more responsible. Head to their website to check their stock

The main problem in the neighbourhood is bags left lying around. Some of this is the council’s contractor ECT forgetting to collect their own green bags, some of it is fly tips – often people above shops who are not prepared to store their own waste on their own premises and businesses putting their waste out at random times to suit them rather than when their collection is due. The area seems much improved but as ever there is more to do.

Ealing envirocrime

Another fly-posting menace

Rowans.jpgRowan’s, a bar in Chiswick High Road, has been fly-posting quite spectacularly in the neighbourhood. Today I took down 18 posters as follows:

  • 1 gates of Elthorne Park
  • 5 junction of Little Ealing Lane and South Ealing Road
  • 2 zebra crossing south end of Northfield Avenue
  • 4 junction of Lower Boston and Boston Roads
  • 6 junction of Boston Manor and Swyncombe Avenue

Although they are in the borough of Hounslow I don’t see how hard it would be to get the Hounslow licensing panel to review their licence. I have written them a letter and will take it round there this afternoon. Whilst I am at it I will dump their signs on their premises too.

Ealing envirocrime

DJ flyposters at it again

Old School.bmp
This time The Priory will be getting a letter from me. I know it is the same DJ running around putting up these posters but it will be the pubs and clubs that have their licences curtailed if they will not control their anti-social DJs.

On Saturday I took down two posters from the junction of Little Ealing Lane and South Ealing Road and two down from the junction where South Ealing Road meets the A4 at the Texaco garage.

Ealing envirocrime

Red Room/Townhouse nuisance stopped?

This weekend I have not seen any new posters from our antisocial DJ friends (see previous posting).

Let me know if you see any. I will be keeping an eye out.

Ealing envirocrime

Townhouse apologises

Townhouse.jpgResponding to my letter of Thursday the Assisant Manager at the Townhouse wrote today in response to my letter about their DJ flyposting the neighbourhood (see previous posting). Quick work.

He said:

“I have today spoken to the promoters of the event who have assured me that all such promotional material has been removed. The advertising was done by the promoters without our prior knowledge or consent. I apologise for any inconvenience or upset this may have caused and can guarantee you that this shall not happen again in the future.”

Sounds good. I will be checking. Let me know if you see any other venues flyposting in the neighbourhood.

Ealing envirocrime

DJs messing the place up

DJ Mess.bmp

Today I took down a flyposter at the junction on South Ealing Road and Little Ealing Lane. A promoter of a club night at the Townhouse pub in Ealing thinks it is OK to make a mess of our neighbourhood in order to promote his or her business. No you can’t. Calling in at the pub the duty manager informed me that it was the DJ rather than the pub itself. I told her that it is the pub that will lose its licence if they cause a public nuisance.

The same people have been regularly promoting club nights at the Red Room also. The posters on plastic boards tie-wrapped to street furniture have appeared outside Northfield tube and at major junctions in the area (at least as far as I have witnessed).

It should be quite easy to stop this behaviour. I am going to write to the designated premises supervisor at both premises and remind then that their licences can be called in for review by the licensing committee if their businesses cause a public nuisance. More later.

Ealing envirocrime

Cleaning up Northfield one solicitor at a time

Councillor Mark Reen and I spent a couple of hours this morning with Bob Coombs, our Envirocrime Enforcement Officer. Bob has been with the council for 16 years and is currently responsible for the Northfield and Elthorne wards. Bob covers everything from abandoned vehicles, through graffiti and fly-tipping to skip licences. About half of his time is spent directly dealing with complaints from members of the public. He is also responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of ECT across this area. If you don’t know ECT is the contractor that provides street cleaning, refuse and recycling collection and fly-tipping removal in Ealing.

We had a chat with Bob over a cup of tea and then headed out into the ward to see what we could find.

Our first stop was a bin bag outside the cafe we had just stopped at on Northfield Avenue. A quick look inside revealed that it had come from an adjacent solicitor’s office. We trooped in and talked to one of the solicitors who was not really as embarrassed as he might have been. On Carlyle Road we had a word with some builders who were using the pavement to store waste before a skip arrived. Following up on a complaint from a lady in Chandos Avenue we looked at another flytip at the east end of the street. More rummaging revealed that one of the flats above the shops on South Ealing Road was being refurbished and the owner was dumping outside. From there to Hessel Road where another rummage delivered up the address of a shop that is To Let – presumably the owner cleared out the rubbish and dumped it on the street opposite. These look like two more good locations for Ealing’s roving flytip spy camera (see pictures from the east end of Graham Road taken in May and published in the July edition of Around Ealing).

To be fair to the council and its contractor ECT, most of the roads we traversed this morning were looking pretty clean. Where there was mess it was due to fly-tipping on the whole.

Your three Northfield councillors are committed to helping Bob make a real difference in this ward. One of us will be out on the streets with him every month.

We can all do our bit. If you see abandoned vehicles, uncollected rubbish or recycling, fly-tipping or graffiti, in fact anything that looks a mess call the council on 020 8825 6000. It may be a little laborious to record the problem but we can’t clean the place up if we don’t have the information.

See previous posting.