A blog from the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services
Cllr Ellen Neville explains more about Environmental Services and the role they play in residents' lives.
We look after some essential services that enable you to go about your daily lives in the borough and we’re here for some of the most challenging times too.
These are my responsibilities:
- Kent and Sussex Crematorium and Tunbridge Wells Cemetery at Hawkenbury
- Recycling and waste collection
- Street cleaning and littering
- Fly-tipping and abandoned vehicles
- Environmental protection
- Environmental health
- Food Hygiene and health and safety standards in businesses
- Corporate health and safety
- Licensing taxis, alcohol, entertainment, gambling and street trading
Some might say that it’s not the most glamorous or fun of the portfolios but that doesn’t diminish the fact that these services are invaluable.
We are responsible for collecting household recycling and waste from your home. The recent re-rounding of our routes has seen a significant improvement in collection rates and the standard of service. We can now boast collection figures of 99.7%.
A shared nuisance is fly-tipping and littering. Albeit a nationwide problem, I am determined to tackle this scourge on our borough’s communities and environment. Fly-tipping is a criminal activity that can cause serious pollution, be a risk to human health and can harm wildlife and farm animals. It spoils our neighbourhoods and quality of life. Our dedicated Street Scene team clear, investigate and prosecute on sufficient evidence. If you employ someone to remove rubbish on your behalf, make sure they hold a Waste Carrier’s Licence. You could be fined £400 if they fly-tip your items.
Graffiti is also tackled by our Street Scene team on borough council grounds and properties. Sometimes we have calls regarding graffiti on buildings that are not owned by the council - to keep on top of this we have some free graffiti removal kits available, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep reporting graffiti to us so we can keep our public realm looking beautiful.
Our Animal Licensing team inspects premises that are required by law to hold a licence: from doggy day care to people selling animals as pets. This reassures residents they are buying a pet from a reliable source and leaving their animals for day care or boarding in a safe place.
The council has received a Gold RSPCA PawPrints Award for 2023 – our first, and an achievement to be proud of. It recognises our achievements in protecting and promoting the welfare of all animals involved in licensable activities, as well as enforcing legislation and having a clear process to monitor and investigate unlicensed activities.
Finally, I must touch on the incredible work in our crematorium and cemetery. I don’t think I was prepared for the dedication, compassion and sensitivity of the team. When meeting with them they held no reservation in describing the privilege they feel delivering the final service to a resident; with the greatest care, attention and tender support at a time when they need it most. Cabinet holds this service in the highest regard and have agreed to work on plans to give the buildings and site some attention in the coming years so that the team can continue to provide this invaluable service.