Town council is doing all it can

PUBLISHED: 06:33 27 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:45 31 May 2010

YOUR correspondent Mr Dwyer (Postbag, July 13) implies - most unfairly - that the Town Council is in some way negligent for allowing the Common to become littered. People have such short memories; only last year, we took the town s grass cutting under o

YOUR correspondent Mr Dwyer (Postbag, July 13) implies - most unfairly - that the Town Council is in some way negligent for allowing the Common to become littered.

People have such short memories; only last year, we took the town's grass cutting under our wing, and the town clerk has a file full of letters praising the fine job we make of it.

Our task is to look after the facilities in our care as well as we are able, which we do, generally, very well.

It is not our task to be law enforcement officers, either in the full or the quasi sense. Nor is it the town council's task, or indeed any other council's, to "teach (the litter louts) a lesson."

Mr Dwyer's proposed solutions unfortunately do not bear close examination. A two-man litter patrol would be useless without some powers of enforcement.

Last year's Clean Neighbourhoods Act in theory allows us to take action, but the Home Office has yet to run the (legally required) training courses which have to be completed before we can act.

Another example of the government talking the talk, but failing to walk the walk: We would also have to budget for this unplanned expense of extra staff; is Mr Dwyer willing to pay extra on his local taxes to see his idea implemented?

Furthermore, one cannot just go around taking photographs of people for the purposes of law enforcement; such activity is strictly regulated by the Home Office; the same applies to the issuing of on the spot fines.

Also, no one has to reveal their identity to an official if they are minded not to - that is one of the features which makes England the place it is (the police have recently taken extra powers in the name of suppressing terrorism, but they are the exception).

The simple fact is that there is no simple answer. The town council does its duty by cleaning up the mess on the Common promptly and efficiently. Beyond that, there is very little at the practical level that we can do.

Cllr Dr Richard Freeman TC and DC Member for Castle Ward, Chair of North Area Panel

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