WALTHAM FOREST: Street cleaning firm under fire

"TEETHING problems" have been blamed for an increase in dirty and littered streets since the local authority changed cleaning contractors.

The council promoted the launch of its new street cleaning contract with Kier, promising tax-payers tidier streets because Kier's performance is measured on the cleanliness of streets and grounds rather than the frequency of cleaning.

However since the new contractors started earlier this month, some residents say they have not lived up to expectations and there has been more litter.

Beth Hamer, 39, of Badlis Road, Walthamstow, photographed piles of empty fast food cartoons and cups in Jewel Road which she walks along twice a day to the Underground station, after spotting a marked increase in the amount of litter dropped by people passing between Hoe Street and Forest Road.

She said: "I think its disgusting that the streets have been allowed to get into this state. I understand that teething problems can occur but this is a street where people have their homes and these people pay for street cleaning services in their council tax.

"It is a busy road, so there has always been quite a lot of litter from chicken shops, but it was picked up fairly quickly.

"I seem to remember that this new contract was trumpeted as being innovative because the measure of success was not how often the streets were cleaned but rather how clean they actually were. So far I can see, Kier has failed in both respects here."

Ms Hamer, a television commissioning manager, reported the state of her street to the local authority and contacted Cllr Geraldine Reardon and cabinet member for environment Cllr Bob Belam, who she said were both sympathetic.

But Cllr Belam admitted there had been "teething problems" with Kier, which they were trying to resolve by getting more street cleaners on the street.

He responded: "The contract with Kier did encounter some teething problems, but this is nothing out of the ordinary when dealing with such a large-scale workload.

"The council has worked closely with them to reschedule their cleaning rota and ensure these delays are no longer an issue.

"We want to be the greenest borough in London.

"As one condition of this contract is that Kier's performance be based on the cleanliness of streets and grounds - rather than the frequency of cleaning - I am confident working with Kier will help us achieve this goal."

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