Column: Cllr Lizzie Deane

NOVEMBER

As I write this, the bin strike is over, the drivers are back to work, and the city is slowly returning to normal. While the original ballot related to management decisions rather than pay, I am pleased to say that the lowest paid workers across the council will be getting a pay increase, as we share the view of both the council’s unions that we can work together to address low wages affecting so many in the UK. Operatives will also be given catch-up payments as they go above and beyond to clear the backlog. This is important as we’re focused on creating positive industrial relations at Cityclean, that we know have affected the council for many, many years and under all political colours.

It is worth mentioning that while all this was going on, the street sweepers, who were not on strike and worked throughout, did a sterling job in keeping the mounds of rubbish neat and tidy, and I have received numerous emails from residents showing their appreciation. They too will receive a pay increase.

I have also received many comments about how this period was a real eye-opener as to how much rubbish we generate, and when you consider that what is left on the streets was a mere tip of the iceberg of what we all actually consume, it’s really quite staggering! Even on a normal day our binmen pick up more than 200 tonnes of rubbish and recycling. The catch up is continuing in earnest, though residents may have to be patient, as with over 600 communal bins and 1,500 bin stores, teams will work day and night to clear it.

I know and appreciate that the piles of detritus were a distressing sight across our lovely city.

There is no doubt that many, if not most of us, consume too much, and ultimately, we pay the price as it ‘costs the Earth’. The old mantras of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (and repair) are still out there, and the mounds of refuse that have greeted us daily recently, serve as a stark reminder of their importance, not to mention the value of some of our key workers, who pick up this rubbish.

So it is apposite that right now is the run-up to Cop26, where world leaders will focus their minds on tackling climate chaos. Many of the pledges we hope they will come up with may involve seismic changes to our way of life (and the removal of the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane shows us that some of the necessary changes are not always welcomed) but a lot of simpler solutions start closer to home. It’s not enough just to recycle our waste, because it still takes up resources to pick up and process. We need to do things differently, and we’re hoping governments will act to help reduce unnecessary waste at source.

As we thank our binmen and street sweepers for keeping the streets clean, one way we can also help is to consider buying less, consuming less, and repair and reuse before we recycle. Home made, upcycled Christmas presents perhaps?

Cllr Lizzie Deane

Green Party member for St Peter’s and North Laine ward

l Do you have any questions for Lizzie? Write in and we’ll see what we can do. 

OCTOBER

Shortly after I moved to West Hill, and before I became a councillor, I went along to a community meeting organised by the local police, to discuss neighbourhood issues. A huge map was laid out and residents invited to name and locate problems in the area. We had to scratch our heads for a bit, because there weren’t any, and we eventually decided the most serious local issue was dog poo.

How times have changed, and over the past few years my inbox has received increasing reports of other issues, most notably graffiti and drug-related antisocial behaviour. Some spots are worse than others, and the area around St Nicholas Churchyard seems particularly prone. All is not lost though, as the police are being particularly active on our behalf, both overtly and covertly, as both both methods work best in their different ways.

There have been calls for, and offers to help with, a mural or other form of painting along the twitten that runs between Centurion Road and Church Street, and our local PCSO Kevin Creasey organised a meeting to discuss this and other issues and, in addition, has put in an application for CCTV coverage along there.

On the upside, a spate of nasty tagging often results in bringing the community together. I spent a great day a couple of years ago with residents around Clifton Street Passage, and we managed to transform a graffiti-ridden passageway into gleaming white walls, which actually stayed that way for a good few weeks before the taggers came back. And likewise, when a kindly soul single-handedly removed all the graffiti at the top of West Hill Road (big Thank You here) it has acted as a successful deterrent.

The North Laine has an active anti-tagging group which gets together regularly to get on top of this perpetual blight as soon as it appears. Although it’s not nearly as bad here in West HilI, I know that when it does happen it’s both unsightly and annoying, and the first tag invariably encourages more. So why don’t we form an anti-tagging group here too? 

If you’re interested and would like to get involved just drop me an email on 

lizzie.deane@brighton-hove.gov.uk 

and we can take it from there.

Cllr Lizzie Deane

Green Party member for St Peter’s and North Laine ward

l Do you have any questions for Lizzie? Write in and we’ll see what we can do.