Workforce, Pensions and Training

08.03.19

Wirral Council’s ‘aggressive’ waste enforcement contract with Kingdom terminated

Wirral Council has terminated its contract with the waste disposal enforcement firm who were accused of “underhand and aggressive tactics.”

The authority suspended its contract with Kingdom last month so that a review of the enforcement campaign could be carried out after a raft of complaints over improper fines to businesses.

The “aggressive” new waste rules saw 12 businesses on the same street slapped with £300 fines, including one second-hand bookshop which was fined after the firm classed the remnants of her lunch as commercial waste.

Kingdom carry out litter enforcement for the local authority across the borough, and Wallasey councillor Paul Hayes said its staff had “behaved like bailiffs.”

Business owners said that Kingdom staff were entering their premises claiming to be council employees and demanding to see records of how items such as tea bags and milk cartons were being disposed of, but the enforcement firm reported “threats and intimidation” against its officers.

Announcing the news, the cabinet member for environment Anita Leech said: “The goal of the contract with Kingdom was to deter and punish those who commit environmental crime.

“But it is clear the approach wasn’t right for everyone and so, after listening to the feedback and meeting with many residents, we have decided to end the contract by mutual consent.”

She said the council will now take some time to reconsider its wider litter and dog fouling strategy, adding that an extensive consultation will be launched later this year.

“We've taken the decision because we've had a number of allegations of underhand and aggressive tactics by Kingdom.

“We've also heard from Kingdom officers about abuse they've received – being spat at, being attacked.

“Overall, we're concerned about the general perception of this operation.”

The firm was employed by Wirral Council in 2015 to enforce its trade waste policy, but last year Kingdom had its contract with Liverpool City Council ended over concerns about some of the employees’ behaviour.

Leech did say residents had told the council time and again how important clean streets are, and that is why it launched a zero-tolerance policy towards this environment crime.

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