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Volunteer litter picker calls for council tax rebate
A MAN who works to keep his estate free of litter has hit out at the council for ignoring his repeated requests for help to tackle the problem and called for a reduction in his council tax as he is ‘doing the council’s job for them’.
David Glew, 48, who lives in the Lascelles area of Darlington, acts as a street champion for Darlington Borough Council and voluntarily collects litter and reports issues to the council’s StreetScene team.
But Mr Glew said the council continually ignores his requests to deal with fly-tipping and litter problems, despite a pledge that StreetScene operatives would respond to his reports of street mess within 24 hours.
A council spokeswoman said street champions, such as Mr Glew, are valued by the council, but that sometimes fly-tipping and littering happens faster than StreetScene teams can respond.
Mr Glew is keen to point out that he is not accusing anyone on the Lascelles estate of fly-tipping or littering, and said the wind is often to blame for bringing in items of rubbish, while fly-tippers come from across the town.
He said: “As a street champion I do not object to collecting litter on the odd occasions, but I do not feel it is my responsibility to clean streets.
“I was assured when I agreed to volunteer as a street champion, that if I reported fly-tipping or street mess, the council StreetScene would respond very quickly and ensure the mess is removed.
“Clearly this is not the case, and therefore I can only assume the street champions are being misled and possibly expected to do the council’s job for free.
“I have requested that consideration is given to a reduction in my council tax, on the basis I have frequently had to clean my street area and litter pick.”
In response, a council spokeswoman said: "Street champions are valued members of our community who take the time to volunteer to work to improve their local area. "Despite our weekly litter picks, weekly street cleansing and the support of our street champions, certain areas do become littered very quickly.”
She added: “Council tax is not based on the services a resident receives from the council and reductions cannot be made if a resident feels the council has not provided adequate service.”