Keeping the streets clean is a basic function of local government. Since Labour took charge in Hammersmith and Fulham this has been less of a priority and the streets have got dirtier – general litter, more fly-tipping and weeds left to grow out of control.
Another dreary aspect is how the paving stones have become more stained – especially with chewing gum. Other London boroughs have taken action to deal with this. Yet in this borough it has been neglected.
The machine featured in this video would cost around £40,000. It is possible to buy a machine for £30,000. That is a relatively modest sum in the context of the Council’s budget. If it was used a couple of days a week it would be able to keep our high streets clean.
Furthermore the cost could be offset in various ways. Section 106 contributions from property developers. Or business sponsorship. Or splitting the bill with a neighbouring borough.
The Council is perfectly happy to spend £1.48 million a year printing boastful propaganda. Yet when it comes to modest, practical ways to improve the environment it says no funds are available.
I couldn’t agree more.
Chewing gum on pavements is a pernicious problem in many cities. But the fact that we don’t even try to clean it up shows a profound deficit in our thinking, and a complacent lack of pride in our urban environment.
Or perhaps the council don’t want to stigmatise gum chewers?