A new hit squad to tackle litter and grime hot spots in Peterborough is to be set up by Peterborough City Council at the cost of £150,000.
The action comes even though the local authority has a £9.2 million a year contract with service provider Enterprise to empty bins and clean the streets.
That contract still has more than 20 years left to run but Councillor Gavin Elsey, cabinet adviser to the deputy leader, said:
“Enterprise is fulfilling that contract. This work is going over and above the work in the contract, “We monitor their contract, and they are doing a good job according to all the measurements we take,
“The extra money has come as we have listened to residents and councillors who said there were areas of their wards that needed additional cleaning.
“Either we make the city open for business, and attract new investment to the city and make it a better place, or we leave it and turn off the lights.
“Councillors know their wards better than anyone, so they can raise the particular areas of concern.
“We want our residents to take pride in their city.
“We used to carry out spring cleans when the service was in house, but we hope this will be a one off.
“We do need to educate people that things like flytipping, spraying graffiti, dropping chewing gun and cigarette ends is unacceptable.
“That education process could take a long time - do we allow rubbish to build up while that process is taking place? No, we should clear it up.”
Cllr Elsey added that if Enterprise did not spend the full £150,000 then the council will be refunded the difference.
The new team will be employed by Enterprise and a council spokeswoman said it would not be decided how the money is to be spent until a number of ‘ward walks’ with councillors had taken place to find city grot spots.
Cllr John Fox, who represents the Werrington North ward, said the cash should be spent on a deterrent to prevent the problem happening again.
He said: “It is always the same old places where people are dumping things all the time.
“There should be more emphasis on naming and shaming the culprits, and getting them in court. Take them to court and punish them for dropping litter.
“Gunthorpe Road and North fen Road are still big problems. In the past we have seen people with flat-bed trucks empty loads onto the road, and it is these people who we should be prosecuting.
“There are powers to take people’s vehicle away if they are caught flytipping, and I would like to see these powers used,
“Rather than spending money cleaning up, we should be looking at ways to stop people doing it in the first place.
“It makes me angry when tax-payers money is spent on picking litter up.
“There should be more covert surveillance used to tackle the problem, and bring people before the courts.”
Sheila Davis is a volunteer who runs a litter picking scheme in the Ortons.
She has held the sessions every month for nine years, and was out cleaning up in Riseholme, Orton Goldhay on Tuesday.
She said: “I hope the money will be well spent.
“I don’t think the problem of litter will ever go away though. People used to always take their rubbish away, and not drop it, but not any more.
“We go out, clear the rubbish up, and often the next day there is more rubbish out there, But I think a deterrent is the key to solving the problem.”
Is the £150,000 on extra litter clearing in Peterborough money well spent?
Fly-tipping in Peterborough:
Last month the Peterborough Telegraph revealed flytipping cost the city more than £46,500 every year - not including staff and vehicle costs.
In 2011, 2,578 tonnes of ﬂytipped waste was collected in the city, with clearance teams dealing with up to 600 cases a month during peak periods.
It costs £82 per tonne to dump flytipped waste into landfill, although that figure will rise to £90 next year.
In 2011 22 per cent of flytipped waste went to landfill in Peterborough, while the rest was recycled.
Offenders can be fined £50,000 or imprisoned for 12 months if they are caught fly-tipping.