I was maddened on my walk along the river to the West End this morning on my river walk to see the detrius in the Park, and this evening the appauling mounds of rubbish beside unemptied bins. I am somewhat relieved to see others have noticed this shameful state of affairs, meaning to start a thread upon my return.
Having now calmed down enought to read earlier posts I see certain admirable locals have already sort to act to no avail, save getting caught in a game of inter-departmental/quango pass the parcel. That said, I intend to pester tomorrow those "in power". Some elimenary "Take your Litter Home with You!" signs and decent sized bins (the Pool of London ones are tiny and frankly hopeless!) would be a start for the Potters Field Park Trust!!!! This park is a national landmark and a local resource - a Summer long season of discraceful weekend rubbish simply cannot be allowed!
Here is my recent correspondence with Stephen Cornford of Potters Fields Park Trust, Nadia Broccardo of Londondon Bridge BID, copied to Boris:
FYI - last night (Saturday at 9.30pm) was as bad as I've ever seen - mainly because of the full bins at Potters Fields. The public had mostly piled rubbish beside the full bins, but there was still plent around the grass and the More London Estate, lapping up the sides of City Hall.
I've just been watching Mayor Bloomberg, who was at City Hall on Friday. talking about the imperative of clean streets in NYC.
The trash from PF has coincided with far more trash in Tower Bridge Piazza where I live. The relationship is indirectly causal.
I'm close to giving up on this as I am powerless and will be away much of the summer. Maybe when I get back I'll bombard Boris. He's a fellow classicist so perhaps I'll write him a Greek ode about London's garbage to catch his eye.
Anyway I'm fed up - whoever you're paying isn't performing and the Trust's oversight of them is inadequate.
On 6 May 2008, at 14:03, mark adams wrote:
You are dead right about the Atlantic-sized civic pride gap.
Thankyou, Nadia, for the details of the forthcoming interviews to produce a report to produce a plan to tell businesses how to re-cycle better.
Boris, get your finger out, you've been Mayor for 24 hours now. It would be great publicity for you to do some trash-spiking on your own doorstep.
BUT I start from a different position - which is there must be zero-tolerance of litter ever again at this emblematic site and if it takes a permanent patrol while everyone's working out a more complex solution, then so be it. Why should the UK be shamed by something that is so controllable? Potters Fields is a small park and unskilled labour is plentiful in London. This is not a matter of business processes, it's a matter of willing the end whatever the means. The slovenliness of other parts of London only raises the incentive to set an example here.
I have a regular meeting with the relatively new Estate Manager of More
London who has been very helpful to the park, as I indicated earlier. I
will discuss your ideas with him. I will also see what Amano can do.
They do take their responsibility to the community seriously.
I was in both Boston and Chicago last summer and spent some time
watching park management there (sad I know!) while there systems are
good, they have a completely different attitude to civic pride in the
States this coupled with either a drinking ban in public or an
assumption that it's not done, means that their litter problems are not
as bad. A huge amount of the litter on the park this morning was caused
by eating and drinking which does not seem to occur in the States. I am
in San Francisco next week for a family reunion and I expect I will find
the same there.
I fear we have become a nation of could not care less.
As you will be aware Nadia, from LBBID are working closely on
improvements to the area.
From: mark adams [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 06 May 2008 13:04
To: Stephen Cornford
Cc: Nadia Broccardo
Subject: Re: Potters Fields litter redux!
I'm mollified by your answer (as ever), but I feel that more can be
done at little cost:
eg - the More London security army, which mostly stands around, might
have a brief to call you or the contractor's management should a
litter problem begin, so that action can be taken immediately plus
the businesses might fairly be pressured to sponsor roving collectors
at peak times as a form of advertising. To be sure it's wrong that
local cafe's do nothing (apart from pay taxes and rent ). A Starbucks
or Amano collector in company livery would create good will.
I suppose appealing to the Olympics can be the last refuge of a weak
argument, but it's just true that this very high profile site
showcases Britain as much as anywere now and I don't want to feel the
shame that I feel coming into Heathrow, say. I have 2 American
daughters aged 5 and 6 who tut-tut at me about the state of London
compared to New York and their impressions are formed by PF and Shad
Would you consider posting your thoughts at the SE1 thread?
On 6 May 2008, at 12:36, Stephen Cornford wrote:
I have already seen your post.
I too was horrified to see the state of the park this morning my first
reaction was to suspect that the late collection was not done on the
bank holiday. I have been told that the last collection was done at
18.30. The last collection is meant to be at 19.00 at weekends and
holidays. I have since spoken to the contractor and asked them to
produce a draft specification and quotation for collections and
I am also not sure if the political activity of the past few days
to the problem. I can assure that I too have zero tolerance of
the park and will do everything we can to keep it clear. The gardening
staff picked 23 bags this morning.
We are currently spending considerable more than budgeted on litter
cleaning, we have now been able to use More London cleaning contractor
which will be far more beneficial. We are currently spending about
times as much on overall park maintenance than Southwark was in the
past, we will continue to ensure that more resources are used on the
park as needed.
From: mark adams [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 06 May 2008 12:15
To: Stephen Cornford; Helen Moore
Subject: Potters Fields litter redux!
I was there also around 8pm this evening or just before and was completely gobsmacked at the hideousness of the litter - what a travesty after all the hype and pride about turning Potters Field into a world class park !! It is an utter disgrace, words fail me at the slovenliness of this country. As Mark says, this park is between City hall and Tower Bridge - as a symbol of London it doesn't get much bigger than that !!! But no doubt we will have to wait several years before the quangos and gooffornothings in City Hall actually deign to do something about it.
i have emailed the mayor, the potters fields people and the evening standard with loads of pix i took yesterday. maybe we can get a campaign started to name and shame those responsible and get the whole area cleaned up...
The litter culture in this city and indeed this country is heartbreaking. Unless the KINDERGARTENS start teaching the children that chucking is unacceptable, things will not change. You try asking anyone to please pick up something they just threw. I've tried it two or three times and have been subjected to physical, not just verbal, abuse. Yes indeed more rubbish bins and more frequent collections would help. But fundamental change of attitude to littering and REALLY draconian measures with colossal fines are what's needed. It wouldnt take long either. A blitz of six months would make people take on the message. I remember when they started fining people for driving in the bus lanes. It took a couple of fines to stop ME whipping up the bus lane in a hurry to get to work. A couple of really hefty fines would make people think carefully before discarding their chocolate wrappers and KFC containers so quickly. And all the beggars on the streets could be paid for clearing up their patches. There ARE solutions, just no one wants to apply them.
Agreed in general, Jackie, but I don't think public slovenlness is the cause of public squalor around City Hall. It's notable how hard the public, mainly tourists, try to fill the inadequate bins and then stack their trash beside them. The problem is the ineptitude of the authorities and the lack of actual supervision or operational flexibility at 'peak' times. The culprits are:
1. The ex-Mayor of London. He had an overriding duty to London's reputation.
2. The local residents' associations. I've never heard a peep out of them apart from the formidable Shag Thames RA.
3. Southwark Council. They are on the board of Potters Fields and directly responsible for the area by Tower Bridge which is medium squalid.
4. Potters Fields Park Trust, whose heart is in the right place. They have helped create this superb space, but seem unable to keep it clean.
5. London Bridge BID, who should have grabbed this problem by the throat over a year ago. They represent some of the brightest minds in business. All it takes is an integrated approach to an essentially trivial operational task.
5a. More London. Their only action has been to remove their bins. They should be squealing and helping out.
6. The media; I mean this organ, James. What has London-se1 done to get this fixed? It's an obvious story to inflate to the national press.
7. All of us - we're all to blame. No cross that out, we aren't.
Again here are images from last night, but if you open the main blog and scroll down you can see it was the same a year ago:
Bins sill overflowing this morning at 8.30am on the way to work - I trust Boris sees as he enters City Hall today. Agreed Mark - this is a national scandal. Great for the One Show on BBC1 (not that I am ever home to see it but aware they love this sort of thing!), Evening Standard etc.