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From Keighley News, 12th October 2017
Written by David Knights

A FORMER Keighley deputy mayor has called for a special campaign to rid the town of litter. Retired councillor Ian Dermondy demanded that Bradford Council’s new private litter cops, currently confined to Bradford city centre, be dispatched to Keighley as soon as possible. 

 He spoke out after discovering that for the first least three months of this year no fines were issued for littering anywhere in Bradford district.

The ex-councillor’s call for a focused Keighley anti-litter campaign this week received support Keighley MP John Grogan.

He agreed to write to Cllr Sarah Ferriby, the council’s environment portfolio holder, asking her to set a firm date for the anti-litter team to begin work in Keighley.

Mr Grogan said: “I think a keep Keighley Tidy Campaign is an excellent idea.

“I attended an exhibition in the House of Commons this week featuring organisations who have helped fight against litter in towns across the country.

“I invited some of the groups to Keighley to an event I am going to organise in December about Keighley parks, where litter can be a problem.”

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Mr Dermondy’s own litter concerns relate to the Keighley town centre after seeing the amount of cigarette butts, takeaway boxes and cans dumped outside his Cavendish Street shop.

He claims to have seen people drop cigarettes while the council’s own enforcement officers – who have the power to issue fines for littering – stand only feet away issuing parking tickets.

Mr Dermondy, who served as deputy town mayor early this year, said: “More time is given to soft targets such as parking offences than other very real problems within our town.

“I’m shocked that such disregard is being given to the task of dealing with litter. You only have to walk to the town centre to see the level of the problem.”

Mr Dermondy last month submitted a Freedom of Information request to Bradford Council asking how many fines it had issued for a variety of offences, over two time periods, the past 12 months and the first three months of 2017 alone.

The response revealed that although 836 fixed penalty fines had been issued for dropping litter since September 2016, none were issued in the period January to March this year.

Similarly, 23 fines were issued for spitting over 12 months, but none last winter. Forty-four fines were issued in 12 months for anti-social behaviour, but only five between January and March.

Mr Dermondy added: “From January to March there was not one single ticket issued for dropping litter. I find that unbelievable, judging by the state our town centre streets are in.”

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The Keighley News this week sought clarification from the council on why no fines had been issued during the winter, but received no firm answer.

A council spokesman simply said the private enforcement team did not begin work until July, and Cllr Ferriby admitted she did not know any reason for the inaction by the council’s own officers.

The spokesman added: “No littering fines have yet been issued by the private enforcement officers in the Keighley constituency.

“We agreed with the company a three-month bedding in period whilst working in Bradford before the team moves out to work in other areas of the district.

“We will be meeting with the team to discuss how they will operate across other areas of the district.”

Cllr Ferriby confirmed to the Keighley News that enforcement officers would soon be working in Keighley, and hoped they would make a “significant impact” on the litter problem.

She added: “Bradford Council is working hard with decreasing resources to keep on top of the litter problem in all areas of the district.

“Enforcement Officers will soon be working in Keighley and we hope that they will have a significant impact on the problem.

“However, the Council can only do so much. People need to be aware of their own responsibilities to make sure they bin their litter instead of just dropping on the floor.”