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Issue:- 28 October 2010

Tipper Tagged

A SERIAL fly-tipper is the first person in Liverpool to be electronically tagged for dumping waste on the city streets.  In February 2010, Allen Gardener, of Prescot, was spotted dumping around three tonnes of builder’s rubble into the front garden of a derelict house in Norris Green – an area already blighted by fly-tipping. Two fire officers witnessed the incident and when they approached Gardener he sped off, but they managed to get the registration number of his Ford Tipper Transit Van.

In March, the same vehicle was seen tipping more builder’s rubble and garden waste in the middle of a road in Garston. The rubbish blocked the entrance to Rotters Community Compound, and when worker Anthony Patton tried to stop what was happening, Gardener drove off once again.

Just 1 week later, the city council received complaints relating to three tonnes of wooden window frames dumped in an alleyway in West Derby. The investigating team contacted the company responsible for the windows who claimed they had made arrangements with someone called ‘Alan’ who they hired to dispose of the frames responsibly.

Finally in June, a member of Enterprise Liverpool’s Neighbourhood Enforcement Action Team (NEAT) witnessed the transit van dumping more garden waste in Croxteth, and again Gardener fled when approached.

The mounting evidence meant that the 42 year old was arrested, and during a search of his house, flyers advertising waste removal were found.

Gardener pleaded guilty at Liverpool Magistrates Court to four counts of fly-tipping. He has been electronically tagged for 56 days, with a daily curfew between 8.30pm and 6am. A six month community order has also been enforced and he has been ordered to pay the city council £300 towards costs and £300 compensation.

Liverpool city council’s cabinet member for the environment, Councillor Tim Moore, said:- “This conviction sends out a strong message – we will not tolerate anyone who makes other people’s lives a misery by fly-tipping. We will catch you, and you will be punished.  Fly-tipping is a blight on our city and makes it dirty and unwelcoming. We are determined to do everything we can to crackdown on the mindless minority who use Liverpool as a dumping ground.  I’d like to congratulate everyone involved – it was a real team effort and with the help of all the other organisations involved and members of the public, we’ve made sure justice is served.”

Following his arrest, Gardener admitted to being in debt and has since sold his tipper van.  

Organisations involved in the case included Liverpool City Council, Enterprise Liverpool Ltd, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Merseyside Police.


THE youngest member of Blackpool Zoo’s flamingo flock thinks it is a zoo keeper!  Shortly after hatching on 18 July 2010, the fluffy flamingo ‘imprinted’ on the first living creature it saw - namely James Mulvany , Blackpool Zoo’s Senior Bird and Reptile Keeper.

When 3 flamingo eggs were laid earlier in the year keepers took the decision to incubate and hand rear the chicks after previous breeding attempts ended in eggs being stolen by seagulls that are prevalent in the seaside resort.  Had all 3 eggs been fertilised and hatched, the young would have imprinted on each other, meaning they would have a clearer understanding that they were flamingos.  Tests revealed that just 1 egg had fertilised and keepers took the decision to continue with the plan to hand rear. 

In the early days the chick was syringe fed water, hard-boiled egg yolks and chopped fish, which was fortified with vitamins. It has now progressed to eating special flamingo pellets, which provide all the nutrition the chick needs to flourish.

Although the chick is showing a lot of natural behaviours already, James and his team are now busy teaching the chick that it, in fact, a flamingo and he or she is a very fast learner!

This includes James leading the chick in daily wades in the pond and stints in the flamingo house so he or she can familiarise themselves with the sights and sounds of the flock.

Jude Rothwell, PR and Marketing Coordinator at Blackpool Zoo, said:- “The chick is learning very quickly that he or she is indeed a bird and is spending more and more time with the rest of the flock.  This is the first time we have hand-reared a flamingo chick at the zoo but, as expected, the keepers have done a fantastic job of it.  In coming weeks he or she will be fully integrated with the rest of the group and on show for visitors to see.”

The chick is just 1 of 9 recent additions to the flurry of flamingos at Blackpool. 8 fully grown flamingos came to the zoo from a collection in Kent and have settled into their new home very quickly.

Cuts will have devastating impact on council housing

CUTS announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) will have a devastating impact on council tenants.  Combined with cuts to Housing Benefit and the attack on secure tenancies, they break the Prime Minister’s pre election promise. They are not ‘fair’; this is an assault on tenants’ rights that will drive up rent arrears, evictions, poverty and homelessness.  The CSR announcement spread confusion by referring to ‘social housing’ without detail of which changes would apply to council housing or housing associations (Registered Social Landlords - RSLs). CLG officials have confirmed to DCH that both Council and RSL landlords will be given freedom to create some new time-limited tenancies instead of the current council 'secure' (and RSL 'assured') tenancy.  But only RSLs will be allowed to designate some of their homes for ‘intermediate’ rents up to 80% of market rents, with time limited tenancies. This will finance borrowing to build more homes at same higher rents.  Cuts in other spending mean these are the only new homes for rent planned – and they will be too expensive for most people on the waiting list, unless they can claim Housing Benefit. Tenants would be stuck in a poverty trap and liable to debt and insecurity.  Capital investment in council housing will be halved or worse. Cuts mean no improvements by 2015 to over half the council homes not at a decent standard. The Treasury is to take all housing capital receipts, and increase the cost of borrowing for Councils.  Reform of the Housing Revenue Account is to go ahead, but no figures have been released. CLG say they will issue more details by Christmas. The big question is whether they propose councils take on higher levels of debt; and whether proposals will be financially viable.

Britain’s Broken Roads are Bad for Business

BADLY maintained local roads are costing the economy £4.1bn a year in wasted staff time, production delays and damage repairs, according to a new report carried out by YouGov for the Asphalt Industry Alliance.  The report reveals that 55% of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in England and Wales are losing on average £13,600 each per year.

The new report, The Economic Impact of Local Road Condition, reveals that bad local roads are hitting 55% of SMEs on the bottom line, not only in obvious ways such as accidents and vehicle damage, but also through decreased productivity and increased business costs. 48% of businesses report that poorly-maintained roads waste their staff’s time - on average each affected business reported losing 216 hours a year, the equivalent of 1 member of staff being absent for 5 weeks of the year.

Local authority roads account for over 95% of the country‘s network. Local authority highway departments, facing a shortfall in funding of £800 million, are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the costs of maintaining their roads in an acceptable condition. This problem is made worse by the diversion of funds, allocated by central Government to highways maintenance, to other Council services.

There are 4.3 million small and medium-sized enterprises in England and Wales, employing 12.3 million people. SMEs are regarded as the “engine of the economy” and have a combined annual turnover of £1,350 billion³. The report reveals that poor road condition directly affects these businesses, and indirectly influences the success – or otherwise – of the local economy, in the following ways:-

EMPLOYMENT:- 15% of businesses in England and Wales that have been in their current location for more than 5 years have considered moving or have moved their premises to an area with better-maintained roads. In the North, the Midlands and Wales this figure rises to 20% of SMEs

INCREASED BUSINESS COSTS:- 52% of SMEs reported that poorly-maintained roads have increased their business costs. Costs incurred included increased journey times; damage to vehicles; increased fuel costs; and costs of accidents as a result of poorly-maintained roads.

DECREASED PRODUCTIVITY:- 48% of SMEs stated that poorly-maintained roads make their businesses less productive. Productivity issues included wasted staff time; delays in delivering products and services; delays in deliveries from suppliers; and delays in shipping goods within the company.

REDUCED COMPETITIVENESS:- 34% of SMEs felt that the state of their local roads made them less competitive than their rivals. Competitiveness was affected through having to increase the price of products and services and through having to increase waiting time for delivery of products and services.

60% of SMEs have been negatively affected by the credit crunch. Of these 25% said that improving the condition of local roads would help them to recover from the recession.  Investing in road maintenance has positive effects for a local area. Members of the public, who were also polled by YouGov for the report, said that the condition of local roads affected their decisions on where to shop (33%); where to go for days out (39%); and where to buy a house (45%).

The Asphalt Industry Alliance, an industry group which campaigns to raise awareness of the need for sustained investment in road maintenance, is calling for:-

► A new approach to funding roads maintenance, including sustained, longer-term budgets which would allow for more cost-effective planning of maintenance;

► Better protection of road maintenance budgets at local level; and

► Easier access to emergency funding to deal with damage caused by extreme weather conditions.

Colin Loveday, Chairman of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, said:- “This report demonstrates that there is a sound economic argument for properly funding local road maintenance as a key measure to help the economy emerge from recession. Improving the condition of local roads would take the brakes off our SMEs and help them to drive the recovery forward. The condition of local roads is a key influence on residents’ attitudes to their local council. 1 in 5 say that road condition affects how they cast their vote at election time. Those local authorities that choose to prioritise road maintenance are choosing to protect their local economies, support local employers and improve the quality of life for residents.”

Commenting on the report’s findings, Stephen Alambritis, Head of Public Affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, said:- “What is bad for business will be bad for consumers. Small businesses suffering an increase in costs as a result of increased journey times and increased fuel costs will have no option but to try and pass those costs onto the consumer. Business location decisions will also be influenced by better roads; jobs move with businesses and this cannot be the correct way forward.”


► 17% of businesses take to the air to avoid the disadvantages of badly maintained roads

► 61% of the public do not cycle on local roads at all, and only 16% cycle on local roads more than once a month

► Nearly 20% of the public in England and Wales would either take up cycling or cycle more if roads were better maintained.

► Over half of the public in England and Wales thought their local roads were not fit and safe for cycling.

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