Agenda item

Coastal Waste Scrutiny Review Working Party Report


Councillor Fellows introduced the item. He explained that it had been a thorough review, with 20 recommendations made. 


The Chair stated that the report was well set out and thanks were offered to the panel for their efforts. It was noted that discussions on how Town and Parish Councils can cooperate better were needed. 


Members commented and asked the following questions:


  • The recommendations could lead to large improvements; members suggested that volunteer groups needed to be liaised with more frequently; 
  • The Plastic Free Regime, recommendation number 6, was noted as a challenging recommendation. Members questioned how the Council could deliver this recommendation? 
  • Members questioned the current TDC website. Suggestions were put forth regarding reporting fly tipping and waste issues via the ‘Fix My Street’ website. 


Councillor Fellows and Gavin Waite responded to the comments as followed:


  • It was agreed that volunteers felt underappreciated;
  • Volunteers were to receive further support, i.e. equipment;
  • The Plastic Free Regime recommendation could be implemented in a number of ways; this could be through pubs ceasing the use of plastic cups, or fish and chip shops reusing some of their packaging;
  • There previously was an app that members of the public could use to report fly tipping and waste issues, however the app was unsupported and so its use was stopped.


Councillor Fellows proposed, Councillor Tomlinson seconded and the Panel agreed the Coastal Waste Scrutiny Review Working Party report findings and recommendations as detailed in the working party report and that these be forwarded to cabinet for consideration by the Executive. A summary of the recommendations is as detailed below:


 1.  Thanet District Council should re-evaluate its corporate priorities to better reflect that beaches and coastlines are fundamental to the identity of Thanet as a tourism destination and as a result funding for their preservation and cleanliness should be prioritised;


2.   To expand our resource base to enable Recommendation 1, we should explore a broader range of funding options, partnerships and models of delivery;


3.  We should consider introducing bylaws and/or licensing conditions to control use of polystyrene containers, cardboard chip boxes & other frequently littered items;


4.  TDC should look to promote a plastic free regime in Thanet;


5.  TDC should develop flexible staff roles for beaches and the coastline;


6. TDC should consider approaching voluntary litter picking groups first when recruiting extra seasonal staff;


7.  An annual litter bin survey should be carried out with the help of parish & Town Councils (and volunteer groups if appropriate);


8.  Current work on modernising our bins - phasing out dog waste bins, reducing aperture size when bins are replaced, fitting the size of the bin to the location and making all bins ‘smart’, for example - should be progressed with all speed;


9.  TDC should monitor use and effectiveness of dog waste bag stations;


10. TDC should set and publicise challenging performance indicators for beach & coastal cleanliness and establish a schedule of Council & public reporting on these;


11.  TDC should adopt stronger public messaging on litter;


12. We should set up ‘2 minute beach clean’ stations during peak visitor periods to encourage individuals and families to help, supported by paid Rangers;


13. TDC Operational Services should meet at least annually with coastal/seafront businesses to address issues relating to keeping seafront areas clean;


14. We should explore introducing bylaws and/or licensing conditions to require all businesses selling food to provide & service their own bins outside their premises;


15. TDC should conduct regular and spot checks on Commercial Waste contracts and publicise that this happens;


16. TDC should prioritise building mutually supportive relationships with Town & Parish Councils to collaborate on litter & waste e.g. via regular focused meetings;


17. TDC should acknowledge, support & celebrate the work of litter picking volunteers e.g. by providing bags/ equipment, helping with insurance/ health & safety advice, offering funding where possible and hosting an annual ‘Thank You’ event.


18. TDC should consider establishing a Thanet-wide Litter Forum involving voluntary groups and where appropriate Town/ Parish Councils;


19. DC should establish a hotline/ single point of contact for litter groups to call for action e.g. to arrange pickup of bags, request supplies etc;


20. TDC should invest in the “Fix My Street” app again.


Nick Hughes advised Members that if Cabinet agreed the recommendations, there would be a need to draft an Action Plan for implementing the adopted recommendations. The Panel would then be able to keep a watching brief on the progress regarding the implementation of the Action Plan. The working party chair and any other members could attend the Cabinet meeting when the review findings report would be considered to speak under 20.1 on the report if they so wished.

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