West Berkshire Council

Start date: 2017-09-20
End date: 2017-10-31
Results: 2018-01-22

Proposed Changes to the Street Cleansing and Litter Picking Services 2018

Have your say on proposed changes to services

This consultation is now closed


West Berkshire Council is proposing changes to its street cleansing and litter picking services.

We have a duty to ensure relevant land is kept clear of litter and refuse as far as possible. To achieve this, we spend around £2.5m a year providing:

  • street cleansing services (sweeping and removal of detritus)
  • litter picking services
  • litter bins
  • weed spraying
  • a response crew for various tasks including the removal of fly tips, hazardous litter and drug related litter

Street cleansing and litter picking throughout the district is scheduled and completed on a rolling cycle.

Litter bins are currently emptied regularly; ranging from every day to once a week.

Weed spraying is completed twice a year during the growing season.

The public can tell us about local issues, including problems with litter, litter bins and fly tipping at www.westberks.gov.uk/reportaproblem. We welcome the support of the community in identifying problem areas and will be extending the service to include the reporting of the build up of detritus.

The budget for street cleansing and litter picking was reduced by £100,000 as part of the 2016/17 budget setting process. The service is currently operated to a high standard but this is also at a high cost and changes to how the service is delivered are being proposed to ensure we provide a service we can afford.

Legislation requirements

Under Section 89 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, we, as a principal litter authority, have a duty to ensure that relevant land is kept clear of litter and refuse so far as practicable.

What are we proposing?

In areas other than town centres, we would move away from the current scheduled programme of cleansing and litter picking and introduce a more reactive service. This will provide an opportunity to increase efficiency and effectiveness within the service, by focusing activity in areas where it is most needed.

Thepdf icon Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse - April 2006 [792kb] (issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) sets out guidance on the standard of cleanliness that should be maintained, and depending on the type of land, the speed at which land should be returned to an acceptable standard if it falls below it. The emphasis in the Code is on the consistent and appropriate management of an area to keep it clean, not on how often it is cleaned.

Whilst there will be no change in services for town centres, other council maintained roads and footpaths will be swept and/or litter picked as required, rather than routinely cleaning areas that are largely clean. The roads will be swept and litter picked when they are dirty rather than at a set frequency regardless of how dirty they are.

A comparison of our current service and the proposed service is shown below:

Type of Land

Current Litter Picking

Current Street Cleansing


High Intensity Use (Red)

Town centres

DailyDaily or weeklyNo change, remains scheduled

Medium Intensity Use (Blue)

Roads on housing estates, industrial areas and village centres

Every two weeksBetween twice a week and every six weeksRoutine work, supplemented by reactive work where land falls below an acceptable standard

Low Intensity Use (Green)

Lightly trafficked areas, rural roads without housing

Between every four weeks and once a yearEvery 12 weeks, or not at all if they have no kerbLess proactive attention than Medium Intensity Use, supplemented by reactive work where land falls below an acceptable standard

Special Circumstances (Yellow)

Roads where issues of crew health and safety are dominant (eg A34)

Once every four weeksAnnually or not at allCo-ordinated work undertaken during scheduled road works and when reasonable and practicable to do so
Litter BinsEmptied on a schedule, between daily and every weekEmptied when they are nearly full

Weed Spraying

Twice a year on kerbed roadsNo change
Response CrewAs required

No change


We have illustrated the different types of land, using a colour-coded map, which can be seen below.

(Note: this is for illustrative purposes only)

We will conduct inspections throughout the district to ensure relevant land is being maintained to an acceptable standard. In addition to this, the public will be further encouraged to report any concerns about the build up of litter and detritus, or problems with litter bins.

Council maintained roads/footpaths, council car parks and Newbury Bus Station will be cleansed/litter picked, if they are found to be of grade C standard (or below) as defined in the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse. Further information and images showing what this is likely to look like can be found on pages 16 and 17 in the pdf icon Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse [792kb].

We will run an anti-litter campaign to highlight the negative impacts of discarded litter and to encourage those that drop litter, to change their habits.

What do we think the impact will be?

Efficiencies will be made by targeting resources more effectively within the service by focusing activity in areas where it is most needed. Some areas, such as town centres, council car parks and Newbury Bus Station will not see any change in service.

Although we will still respond to litter or detritus issues, the response probably won't be as quick as we may have previously provided . This proposal may mean that in some areas there will be more litter and detritus on the streets for longer periods of time.

Blocked drains and standing surface water on some local roads may become a more frequent occurrence following heavy rainfall as a result of this proposed change.

Please view our pdf icon Stage One Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) [20kb] for further information.

What else have we considered in arriving at our proposal?

We considered the option of introducing a reactive service for the town centres, council car parks and Newbury Bus Station; however we discounted this option in favour of maintaining a more scheduled programme of work in these areas, to ensure that acceptable standards are maintained.

The removal of fly tips, hazardous litter and drug related litter will remain a high priority for us and therefore, we're not proposing to make any changes to the Response Crew service.

Through the parish devolution programme, advice would be provided to town and parish councils that are interested in independently enhancing the revised service in their local area.

Why we would like your views

We would like to hear from you as to how this proposal could potentially impact on you and on the wider community. In particular, we would be interested in any views you have on how we can minimise the impact of this proposed change.

All feedback will be considered, and a final decision made by the Executive Committee on 18 January 2018. Following this, the results and all anonymised responses will be published on this page.

Please note: Twitter and Facebook posts will not be considered as a valid response.