Looking after our local area

Taking pride in our local area and keeping it clean and tidy is something we all have an interest in. From recycling and disposing of our rubbish properly to the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, everyone can make a difference.

However, since taking office in 2014, the current administration at the Town Hall have not issued a single Fixed Penalty Notice to address the issue of littering in Crawley! In spite of annual increases in the number of warnings for dropping litter, including the annual figure more than doubling from 2015 to 2017, the Labour-controlled Borough Council have not taken this course of action.

I welcome confirmation from local Conservatives that if elected to run Crawley Borough Council at the polls on Thursday 3rd May they will take a much tougher approach in this regard.

Earlier this month the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs confirmed that maximum on-the-spot fines for littering and graffiti have almost doubled from £80 to £150, and for the first time, local authorities can also use these littering penalties against vehicle owners if it can be proved litter was thrown from their car.

This builds on additional action taken to protect our environment which includes banning plastic microbeads in personal care products, proposals to extend the 5 pence plastic bag charge, as well as plans to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.

This last point is just one move to reduce plastic waste. In recent months I have questioned the Leader of the House of Commons about the importance of facilities such as water refilling points in public places.

I am grateful for assurances from Gatwick Airport regarding the water fountains they have after security for passengers, and welcome confirmation that a Conservative-run Town Hall will actively consider the introduction of such facilities in other busy public areas locally.

Local Conservative activists have led community litter picks in neighbourhoods like Southgate and Northgate. This is an issue where local leadership is required without further delay.

Henry Smith MP