Action to improve alleyways and refuse storage

A £6 million plan to tackle underlying issues with waste, litter and vermin in Liverpool’s alleyways is set for approval.

The city council’s Cabinet is being asked to give the green light to a three year programme which will see back passageways repaired and new refuse storage and collection methods introduced.

Liverpool has 22,000 properties on black bin bag collections due to the fact they have four foot alleyways which can’t accommodate refuse wagons and wheelie bins.

The passageways were built in Victorian times and many are in a poor state of repair, with sunken areas and other problems caused by some residents leaving their rubbish in the alleyway all week rather than just the day of collection, leading to them being ripped open by rats, other vermin and household pets.

A further 38,000 properties with wider nine-foot alleyways have their wheeled bins collected from a designated collection point but with the alleyways also needing to be cleansed afterwards to remove waste left in the alleyway.

The cost of collections in terraced areas is around a third higher than non-terraced areas, and recycling rates are up to two thirds lower – only around 15 percent in some wards, compared with up to 50 percent elsewhere in the city.

A total of £1.5 million will be spent by next April in priority areas where surveys have already been carried out, including County and parts of Kensington, Tuebrook and Anfield.

The changes proposed will see a communal waste container for both general waste and recycling placed in areas on black bin bag collections to give residents a place to put their rubbish, rather than leaving it in the alleyway or having to store it in their yard.

And residents living in terraced areas with wheelie bins will no longer have to take it to a communal collection point, but will have a collection from their back gate.

Cabinet member for streetscene and highways, Councillor James Noakes, said: “We are trying to tackle a multitude of different historical issues which cause significant issues for people living in terraced streets.

“We have a legacy of poor quality housing and investment in infrastructure, exacerbated by the cuts in regeneration spending from Government over the last decade, such as the axing of the housing market renewal scheme.

“We are now committing to spending a significant amount of money repairing the worst alleyways, prioritising those areas which are most in need to improve the conditions and prevent vermin from being able to live in gaps below the ground.

“We know we need to do more to improve the storage facilities, so we are proposing communal waste points with much larger bins in some areas to reduce black bags being left in the open for days at a time, and making it easier for people with wheelie bins in terraced properties to have them collected.

“But clearly we need residents to work with us to reduce the amount of waste left in alleyways between collections, recycling more of their waste and treat their neighbourhood with respect. We will be talking with residents about the changes that need to be made, to listen to their ideas for improvements and also agree the actions they will take to help make their areas thriving neighbourhoods.

“The simple fact of the matter that this is not something we can tackle alone, and even if only a few people from each street continue to dump rubbish in their alleyways then we will not be able to solve the underlying issues, such as vermin.

“So we will be looking at new sanctions and measures against people who systematically refuse to dispose of their waste properly and create a mess which impacts on others.”

The ultimate aim is to improve the local environment for all residents, reduce vermin, increase recycling and also provide a safe working environment for staff.

The report will be considered by the Cabinet on Friday 14 September.

Liverpool Waterfront