Recorder letters: Fly-tipping, walk for sick animals, council finances and cleaning Tesco

Fly-tipping has increased since lockdown. Picture: Ron Jeffries

Fly-tipping has increased since lockdown. Picture: Ron Jeffries - Credit: Ron Jeffries

Letters sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Targets must be set to cut waste

Caroline Russell, Green Party London Assembly member, writes:

Viral videos of a van upending wood, rubble and plastic on a quiet street in Croydon in July and another of a woman trying to dump furniture outside an Enfield resident’s gate have shocked Londoners.

These videos highlight the massive increase in fly-tipping across the capital since lockdown.

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Figures from the Clear Waste app show fly-tipping has increased on average by 383 per cent

between April and July compared to March.

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Although many waste and recycling centres have reopened, fly-tipping is still a problem.

This may be because people aren’t aware that tips are open again or they find it too much hassle to use new Covid-safe booking systems.

The big question is what will happen to this fly-tipping?

More than likely it will be burned, rather than recycled.

In 2018-19 recycling rates in London were 33.4pc, up just 0.3pc on the previous year and well below the 50pc target.

At the same time, the amount of waste sent by London’s local authorities for incineration went up by nearly three per cent to 58.3pc.

It is time for the mayor to set targets on reducing the overall waste produced in London to cut the amount of stuff that gets burnt and improve the rates of reuse and repair.

Walk to help sick animals charity

Lynne James, PDSA Vet, writes:

At PDSA, the UK’s leading vet charity, we provide life-saving care to pets in need and believe no pet should suffer due to financial hardship.

But the coronavirus pandemic has left us facing a national crisis. With the country plunged into financial uncertainty, and more than a million extra universal credit claims, we expect the number of pets needing our help to increase by around 50,000.

So support from local animal lovers is needed now more than ever.

We’re urging dog owners and their four-legged friends to put their best paw forward and support our vital service by signing up to the World Big Dog Walk Challenge.

Joining celebrities and animal lovers across the UK, all you need to do is choose a suitable distance for you and your dog to complete during September.

This could be your regular ‘walkies’ route around your local park or why not stretch yourself and take on a more challenging distance?

Whatever the distance, every small step will make a big difference to the lives of poorly pets in desperate need of life-saving treatment.

Our veterinary service has been a lifeline to so many pets and their owners across the UK during the crisis so by choosing to support PDSA through this fun virtual event, we can continue our vital work saving sick and injured pets in need.

Visit for more information and to sign up.

Boroughs face £1.4bn shortfall

Cllr Peter John OBE, chairman of London Councils, writes:

Boroughs have played a crucial role in London’s response to Covid-19.

We’re proud that we helped more than 5,000 rough sleepers into emergency accommodation, delivered more than 80,000 food parcels to vulnerable residents, and secured millions of items of PPE for use in our local communities. All this work has been essential for keeping Londoners safe and slowing the spread of the virus.

However, the pandemic has played havoc with our finances.

In March the government assured councils that it would do “whatever is necessary” to support our efforts to help residents and businesses through the pandemic.

But the extra money provided so far is not nearly enough to cover our costs. Boroughs are instead left facing a massive £1.4billion shortfall.

We’re extremely concerned about the implications for London’s local services, which so many Londoners rely on, and the capital’s post-pandemic recovery. The government must move quicker to stabilise council finances and to commit to long-term, sustainable funding for the sector as part of its upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.

Tesco cleaning duties unfair

Lara Kennedy, solicitor, Leigh Day Tesco Equal Pay team, writes:

News that from Monday (August 24), employees in Tesco Express and Metro stores will be expected to undertake cleaning duties is a stark reminder that these staff are undervalued, overlooked and vulnerable to stereotypical assumptions.

Cleaning is often characterised as women’s work, and reinforces the belief that retail work is a female role. There have been no such reports of similar measures being implemented in the distribution centres.

This is a matter of health and safety and should not be seen as an opportunity to reduce costs. The decision is particularly galling when it has been widely reported that supermarket sales have been at a record high during coronavirus.

For years, Leigh Day has been acting on behalf of store workers, most of whom are women, who we claim are paid unfairly in comparison to their predominantly male distribution centre colleagues.

We hear from our clients how physically and emotionally demanding retail work already is, and this is an added pressure staff shouldn’t have to meet.

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