Litter wardens axed but scheme to go on

A FLAGSHIP anti-litter scheme in Ipswich will go ahead despite a decision to shelve the appointment of two new members of staff to police it.Last month Ipswich Council unveiled a new policy to clamp down on litter with £50 on-the-spot fines for people who dropped rubbish in the street.

A FLAGSHIP anti-litter scheme in Ipswich will go ahead despite a decision to shelve the appointment of two new members of staff to police it.

Last month Ipswich Council unveiled a new policy to clamp down on litter with £50 on-the-spot fines for people who dropped rubbish in the street.

The fines were to be collected by police community safety officers and two new streetcare officers.

Their posts had been approved by the former Labour administration at Civic Centre last year, but had not yet been appointed – job adverts had only just been placed.

However this week the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat executive decided to withdraw the job adverts while the new administration decides whether the posts are needed.

It was a move which was supported by all members of the executive – except Liberal Democrat group leader Inga Lockington who is environment and transport spokesman for the new administration.

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She said: "I have been told that the officers are necessary, but I quite understand why we need to take another look at the situation.

"Labour had 14 years to bring this in – it came in with the Environmental Protection Act of 1990 – so why hadn't they done anything before now?"

Council leader Dale Jackson insisted today that the crackdown on litter would go ahead using the community support officers and park rangers.

He said: "We will be looking at this over the next few months, and by Christmas we may decide we do need these new people.

"But as we try to keep spending down so our council tax increase will be lower than inflation next year, it seems silly to go ahead with this expenditure without seeing if it is necessary."

The total cost of the litter crack-down was due to be just under £50,000, with £42,600 spent on the two posts – as well as the salaries themselves this also includes employers' national insurance payments and employers' pension contributions.

But opposition leader Peter Gardiner, the only Labour opposition councillor on the Executive, who voted against the cuts, said: "It is quite clear that a Cleaner Ipswich is not a priority for the Tories and Liberals.

"Their only stated priority is to cut council tax and they don't mind if Ipswich residents have to wade knee-deep in rubbish to achieve it.

"On-the-spot fines for littering is one of the most popular measures that the Labour -run council introduced but the Tories and Liberals are now going back on it.

"This will only work properly if there are dedicated officers handing out fines, they are caving in to the litter louts."

Do you think the council should employ litter wardens? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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