A litter enforcement firm will stop issuing fines in Conwy, Flintshire and Denbighshire months earlier than expected – with Wrexham remaining contracted to the company.
Last week Flintshire Council’s cabinet voted not to renew its contract with Kingdom Services after a strong public backlash which saw its staff accused of taking a ‘heavy-handed’ approach.
However, the authority planned to keep using them until the end of the current trial on December 31 in order to decide how fines for littering and dog fouling will be handed out in future.
The Merseyside-based company has now served notice that it will stop working in the county from mid-August.
Following the move Cllr Carolyn Thomas, Flintshire Council’s cabinet member for Streetscene and countryside, said penalty notices will now be given out by council staff while plans to create a new regional enforcement service are considered – which when last mooted in Flintshire included reference to Wrexham, although locally we have not seen or heard of any such public discussion.
Cllr Thomas said: “The council’s cabinet made a decision last week not to renew its contract with Kingdom when it ends in December.
“Kingdom have subsequently made a decision to serve notice and will cease working for the council from mid-August.
“The council is currently reviewing options for a new council run enforcement service, including a possible partnership with other local authorities.
This afternoon Kingdom also informed Denbighshire County Council of their intention to withdraw services in the county from August 17th, 2018 “in line with their 28 days contractural notice”. Denbighshire Council openly referenced the latter contract period in a public press release, whereas Wrexham Council have been very particular in ensuring no elements of the contract are referenced in public meetings.
Denbighshire County Council Councillor Tony Thomas, Cabinet Lead Member for Housing, Regulatory Services and the Environment there, said: “The Group have partnered the Council in dealing with environmental issues such as littering and dog fouling over the last five years, in response to the Council’s efforts to make its streets cleaner and creating a pleasant environment for people to live in and visit.
“The joint work has made an impact in terms of awareness and there has been a marked reduction in the number of littering and dog fouling incidents.
“Whilst disappointed, we must respect Kingdom’s decision and would like to thank them for their co-operation over the past five years.
Denbighshire County Council say they “will now consider how the environmental education and enforcement work will continue in the future, as having clean and tidy streets remains a key priority for the Council”.
In a triple hit Conwy County Borough Council today also had notification from Kingdom, with the Council looking to extend their deal, but being told the opposite by the firm.
Conwy Council have said: “Officers met with Kingdom last week to outline the Council’s position and our preferred contract terms. Kingdom has notified us that they do not wish to extend their contract beyond 9 August 2018. The Council was aware this was a possibility and had already started looking at alternative options, which could include bringing the service in-house or developing a partnership model with other local authorities. That work is on-going, and we will be able to update further in due course.”
“The issue of the cleanliness of the environment remains a high priority for the Council and we know it matters to the people of Conwy and our visitors.”
Cllr Mark Baker said: “We wish to reassure the people of Conwy that the environment remains one of our top priorities.”
We have checked with Wrexham Council, and it appears no such notice has been served on them by Kingdom, and Kingdom still operate in Wrexham.
No comment was forthcoming from the Lead Member with responsibility, Cllr David Bithell, over Wrexham looking likely to be the last authority in North Wales to use Kingdom.