‘Shame and disgust’: Stamford Hill residents launch campaign to clean up ‘unsanitary’ streets

A Stamford Hill Unites meeting. Photograph: courtesy Rosemary Sales

Stamford Hill residents have launched a campaign to clean up their streets – which are “regularly strewn with litter”.

Members of Stamford Hill Unites spoke of their “shame and disgust” caused by the “increasing problem” at a recent meeting.

Former councillor Rosemary Sales is one of those leading the charge.

She told the Citizen: “It’s not just us old people banging on about litter – people of all ages are fed up with the rubbish on the streets.

“Street corners have become targets for fly-tipping, which is often followed by dumping of household rubbish, including food waste.

“It’s about having pride in where you live, and feeling like your home is loved.”

Fly-tipped waste in Stamford Hill. Photograph: courtesy Rosemary Sales

University professor Angela Phillips said waste services are organised around single-family homes, but that houses on many local streets are divided into flats with no bin storage.

She also claims misinformation is widespread, with many people apparently of the belief that street corners are official waste sites.

Another attendee at the meeting said: “It makes the area look so scruffy and uncared for. It can be really smelly and unsanitary when there is meat and fish waste.”

One woman complained that her partially-sighted son frequently gets hurt bumping into piles of rubbish on the pavements.

The group said Chris Freeman, Hackney Council’s behaviour change and enforcement manager, has pledged to work with them to find solutions.

The Citizen asked Hackney Council for further details of its plan to tackle street waste in Stamford Hill, but it did not respond.

Stamford Hill West councillors Benzion Papier and Hershy Lisser, both from the Conservative Party, did not respond to an invitation to attend the residents’ meeting.

The Citizen contacted both councillors to ask why they did not attend, and if they will support the campaign, but they did not respond.

Woodberry Down councillor Caroline Selman (Labour) has given her backing to the campaign.

A Hackney Council spokesperson said: “We provide a broad range of waste and recycling services to keep our streets clean and safe, and there are lots of easily accessible and environmentally friendly ways for residents to dispose of their waste.

“We all have a responsibility to keep the borough clean and pleasant, sadly, however, there is a minority of people who still litter and carry out flytipping which has a significant impact on our shared environment.

“We’re tackling this by identifying and taking enforcement action against offenders, as well as running awareness and engagement campaigns, including doorstep education drives and commercial waste action days, to educate people and businesses about waste disposal and positively change behaviours.”

In 2023/24, the council carried out over 1,800 fly-tipping investigations, leading to 474 fixed penalty notices being issued. It also handed out 825 formal notices and 505 warning letters across the borough.

Update: this article was amended on 24 May 2024 to include a comment and additional information from Hackney Council.