Two-year delay for South Tyneside’s ‘report a fly-tipper’ phone app

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A phone app to allow people to report litter and fly-tipping in South Tyneside is still not ready – over two years after it was announced by town hall chiefs.

Plans to make it easier to report rubbish problems and illegal dumping in the borough were unveiled in 2017 along with a series of other measures.

Rubbish which was  left at  Jarrow riverside.

Rubbish which was left at Jarrow riverside.

But, despite it being among South Tyneside Council’s IT department’s ‘priority projects’, bosses are still unable to say when it will be available.

Coun Audrey McMillan, who heads the council’s Place Select Committee, told a meeting that she hoped the app would encourage people to be more proactive in dealing with waste – instead of taking to social media to complain about it.

She said: “If you’re got time to take a photo and post it online and comment on Facebook, I would hope they would use the app to report it.

“Instead of criticising, do something positive and actually report it. Don’t just lambast the council because it’s there.

“We don’t walk every street every day, so the person posting also has a responsibility.”

She added: “I just wish the app was ready now and I would urge we do everything we can to bring that forward.”

The council has confirmed that, when the app is ready, it will be available for people to test through its digital champions panel.

The app’s announcement followed a council commission on littering and fly-tipping which started in September 2016.

There were eight recommendations, including:

*Participation in campaigns, such as the National Spring Clean

*More use of CCTV to track offenders, including the use of moveable cameras

*A review of waste collection charges

The meeting heard that, since July, council staff have staged 45 ‘interventions’ with people over dog fouling and littering to try and encourage them to change their behaviour without resorting to fines.

A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: “The council is always developing new digital services to complement other ways in which residents can report incidents or request services.

“In the meantime, residents are encouraged to continue reporting litter and flytipping online via South Tyneside Council’s website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/reportit as well as through the council’s Customer Contact Centre on (0191) 427 7000.”

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service