New measures to tackle litter problem in Epping

Epping Forest District Council has approved a number of initiatives to tackle the district’s litter problem, which has worsened since the pandemic.

The council will join environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, sponsor an annual litter picking competition and re-evaluate its use of CCTV as an enforcement tool.

Cllr Holly Whitbread (Con) proposed the motion in place of Environmental & Technical Services Portfolio Holder Cllr Nigel Avey, who is self-isolating after being “pinged” by the NHS COVID-19 app.

She said: “What has been disappointing to see, particularly during the pandemic, is an increase in littering.

“We saw scenes in High Beach in the very peak of the pandemic where people were just covering our forest and our green spaces with litter.”

Keep Britain Clean organises campaigns to reduce litter and prevent waste. In 2016 their “We’re Watching You” anti-dog fouling campaign won a UK Charity Award.

In addition to joining the organisation, the council will sponsor an annual competition named “Pride in Epping Forest District”, which aims to acknowledge the individual, group or parish council which makes the greatest local contribution to the removal of litter from the streets and countryside.

It will also evaluate the use of CCTV as an enforcement tool for litter being dropped out of vehicles on main roads, survey the provision of bins, examine its use of social media to promote residents’ awareness and support locally organised litter picks.

Cllr Stephen Murray (Ind) said he was “absolutely delighted” by the motion, but reminded councillors it is not only young people contributing to the problem.

“Sadly it can be family groups, it can be teenagers on the basketball court, it can be just any kind of groups that are causing this problem,” he continued.

The council says it will reach out to other local organisations such as the Corporation of London and Transport for London to encourage joint initiatives.

However, some councillors felt TfL had not accepted responsibility for clearing areas surrounding the station.

Cllr Cherry McCredie (LibDem) said: “These areas are some of the worst littered in the town and TfL have not been forthcoming following requests to clear the litter.”

Loughton Residents Association Cllr Chris Pond additionally called for more on-the-spot fines for litterers.

He said: “We need a little bit of stick as well as the carrot.”

The motion passed unanimously at a full council meeting last Thursday.


Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter