Plaid Cymru councillors have tabled a formal motion calling on Wrexham Council to suspend the use of the controversial Kingdom litter enforcement in the county borough.
Issues about Kingdom have been well documented, with cigarette related litter made up 95% of the tickets issued in March, and a debate over the ‘zero tolerance’ policy.
The Lead Councillor in charge of the department, Councillor David Bithell, has consistently defended the use of Kingdom and resulting fines by stating :”Litter is litter. Irrespective if it is a bin bag or a crisp packet it is litter. Our stance has always been, don’t drop litter or let your dog foul, you have nothing to fear by these proposals.”
Cllr Bithell also usually notes in debates on the topic that removing fly-tipping and littering waste in the county borough costs the council a minimum of £1.2m a year.
However the debate over whether or not the Kingdom contract should be binned could be re-run next week as agenda item 5 on next week’s Executive Board reads:
5. Notice of Motion – Kingdom Security
To consider the Notice of Motion below submitted in accordance with Standing Order 43(2) signed by Councillors Marc Jones and Carrie Harper: “This council through its Executive Board resolves to seek to suspend its contract with Kingdom Security with immediate effect”
We asked for comment and information on the motion, and Plaid Cymru’s group leader Marc Jones told us: “This is the first time, as far as we’re aware, that a motion has been put forward by ordinary councillors to the Executive Board.
“It’s being done because we believe the Kingdom contract is ignoring the council’s own policies and guidelines. The Plaid Cymru group believes the council’s ongoing use of Kingdom is putting the authority at risk.”
“Only today I have been informed of two new cases – one including an autistic person who was in the process of putting out a cigarette – incorrectly served with a Fixed Penalty Notice by Kingdom. We’re investigating these and hope to be able to resolve them without legal action.
“Other councils across the region have dumped Kingdom. We believe Wrexham Council must do the same for reasons we’ll outline to the Executive Board on Tuesday.”
If the motion succeeds on Tuesday a suspension is proposed; whereas previously Wrexham.com has examined the contract between Kingdom and Wrexham Council, and section 4.2 notes that “This agreement will continue until the completion date until either party terminates the agreement by giving 28 days written notice for breach of the agreement terms, or three months written notice to terminate without reason.”
If such a no-reason full termination was was activated immediately it would mean Kingdom would cease operating in Wrexham by early October.
The motion wording itself is interesting as it notes “….through its Executive Board…” as recently the manner of Motions and the Council’s Constitution were used in a Motion on the Citizens Advice Service (more here). Wording the Motion specifically to the Executive Board could be deliberate to ensure it is in theory heard on that day rather than bumped elsewhere, or as it is formally said “dealt with at the meeting at which it is brought forward”.