Saturday, 26 November 2016

Unauthorised Trafe Waste Dumps

We are concerned about the permanent trade waste dumps which there are in the city centre. As far as we have been able to establish no one has authorised or licenced any of these dumps which are often positioned to block highways and pavements. We are particularly concerned about the dump blocking the pavement in River Street Mews, the dump at the Gay street end of George Street and the dump in Spring Gardens Road.

Trade waste bins are large and invariably cause problems. They block highways and access to premises, they are often dirty and smelly and the attract litter and vermin. They also attract and encourage other forms of waste dumping and littering.

We are told bins have to be on the streets because businesses have no room to store them on site. This argument does not go down well with flat dwelling city centre residents who are expected to find space to store their rubbish within their homes for a week. It also allows business to ignore the consequence of their own poor waste management practices. If they had to store waste on their own premises and put it out for collection outside their own premises they would be much more careful about minimising dirt, smells and ensuring their waste did not attract vermin. It also offers them little incentive to invest in technologies that might minimise storage such as cardboard compactors and glass compactors.

In addition, we understand that some these businesses gave assurances to the planning authority about storing rubbish on site which they are now failing to deliver.

Many bins are located near listed buildings and in conservation areas.

 Although they often block pavements 24 hours a day seven days a week the highways authority do not take action. Why?

They are often a smelly health hazard but environmental protection takes no effective action. Why?

 Waste dumped anywhere other than the perimeter of your premises constitutes fly tipping but waste enforcement takes no effective action. Why?

We have endeavoured on a number of occasions to engage officers in a discussion about these dumps we have also expressed our concern to the BID whose contractors collect from many of these dumps.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Notes from a walk with BANES officials looking at issues arising from proposed changes to domestic waste collection in the city centre

The walk highlighted the following:

The majority of city centre properties are divided into flats which do not have external storage, and very limited little internal storage. That any communal hallways must be kept clear due to fire safety. This limited storage capacity means fortnightly collection is not viable and indeed weekly collection may not be adequate.

City centre properties co-exist alongside businesses and tourist attractions. These streets are different to other areas of BANES and therefore need a different strategy.

That many properties are using gull sacks and other recycling boxes as permanent external “refuse bins”. Thus they are becoming permanent street furniture on Bath’s heritage streets.

Additional refuse is often left by the side of full, overflowing, soiled, filthy sacks. Many of the current Gull sacks are not taken back inside properties because passers by have filled them with organic matter, often fast food, which makes them unhygienic and unsanitary.

Discussion showed that there is no clear BANEs view of whether the priority is the recycling targets or clean vermin free streets.

The trials conducted with gull proof bags in the city have demonstrated that the system does not work well. Our visit to the BNES “flagship” pilot street – New King street showed the pilot to be an unmitigated disaster despite the resources that have been devoted to making it a "proof of concept".

We have be led to understand that the new proposals mean that rubbish left outside properties in containers other than gull proof bags or recycling boxes will not be collected by the waste collection contractors. We are unclear what happens to waste, which may have nothing to do with the occupants of the property involved, that isn’t placed in a gull sack. Does it just get left indefinitely?

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Notes on CCTV

A note prepared as preparation for our attendance at a meeting of key agencies and stakeholders to discuss the state of CCTV in the city.

What we want:

·         A clear method for proposing and getting approval for new CCTV cameras or indeed getting existing cameras moved
Why we want it:

·         The rise of anti-social behaviour and drug dealing on the periphery of the existing network

·         The cut backs in police numbers which mean that police activity is increasingly report driven

·         The poor quality of other reporting systems

·         To combat fear of crime

The financing issues:

·         BANES commercialisation programme is not delivering investment where it is needed or as quickly as it is needed

·         The police contribute little or nothing

·         Residents and businesses will not fundraise or sponsor without:

o   Getting a say in how the network is managed

o   Getting a convincing explanation about why the police don’t contribute

o   Without public bodies taking responsibility for ongoing costs

The PCC statement on CCTV financing:

·         Appears to suggest that the police regard CCTV as a “nice to have” while officers on the ground, and common observation, say it is increasing essential.

·         It does not explain how she is planning to address residents’ concerns without CCTV

Other issues:

·         Links to other networks and, in particular, Network Rail

·         Lack of control over quality of premises installations

What we want from the meeting:

·         Agreement to carry on the discussion about these issues and escalate them to involve the PCC directly – Ben Howlett has offered his commitment

·         A clear commitment to address our concerns