Heating costs, refugees and a new fly-tipping app: our round-up of the second Leader’s QT
Yesterday saw the second round of Islington’s Leader’s Question Time, an event designed to give residents of the borough a chance to scrutinise their local government – a council that consists of 47 Labour councillors and one Green councillor can arguably use all the transparency and accountability it can get.
Council leader Richard Watts was on hand, together with Cllrs. Claudia Webbe, Paul Convery and Andy Hull, to listen to around 30 residents who showed up, and to respond to their issues and questions.
The event covered a range of topics, from housing policy and heating bills at the Spa Green estate on St John Street, to Syrian refugees and the upcoming diesel surcharge – including the fact that the council still seems to run most of its own fleet on diesel while charging residents in the name of air quality.
“I was very pleased, we had a good turnout of local residents and people had a range of questions,” said Cllr. Watts after the event. “Some of them were challenging – it’s absolutely right that we get challenged when the council doesn’t get it right, and we don’t always.”
We’ve put together a Storify of our tweets from the session, which you can read below.
One more notable thing that happened: Cllr. Paul Convery, the executive member for community safety, let it slip that the council is launching a new app for residents to directly report incidents of fly-tipping. The app is called Love Clean Streets and is available for Apple, Android, Windows and Blackberry devices. It’s not exactly new though, so it seems Islington is simply signing up to its services now.
According to the website, it lets users report environmental crime such as graffiti, fly-tipping or potholes, so authorities can manage and respond through an integrated service.
“We’re just about to launch it,” Cllr. Claudia Webbe, executive member for environment and transport, said after the event. “It’s enabling people to take photos as they see the rubbish that’s being dumped or the fly-tipping, and for that to go straight back to our refuse service.
“And also, as the technology advances, it can go straight to our fleet, to our fleet vehicles, that are then able to respond instantaneously while they’re out. That will come in time. The app is in its early stages of development.”
She also highlighted the clean-up events going on throughout March in Nag’s Head, Finsbury Park, Archway and Caledonian Road.
“It’s just sending the message that we actually want people to report rubbish,” she said. “So when we get people who complain, we’re encouraging that. The more eyes and ears we’ve got on this matter, the better. If we can enforce, then we will do; we will look through the rubbish to find out who’s been fly-tipping.”