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High Tech Street Cleaners On Trial In Woolwich

The Royal Borough is trialling cutting-edge rubbish ‘gobblers’ as part of its drive to make Greenwich’s streets the cleanest in London.

A giant vacuum cleaner style machine was trialled out in the streets of Woolwich on Wednesday October 25.  Those helping to vacuum up rubbish, ranging from cigarette ends to glass bottles, included Councillor Jackie Smith, Cabinet member for Community Safety and Environment, Deputy Leader Councillor Danny Thorpe, Cabinet member for Regeneration and Sustainability and Councillor  Sizwe James, Cabinet member for Transport, Economy and Smart Cities.

The Council plans to invest in its street cleaning service by purchasing up to four state-of-the-art machines which will be deployed in the borough’s town centres.  The new hi-tech kit will support the street sweepers’ work to ensure the Borough can be cleaned up and made litter free more efficiently.

The vacuum cleaning machine tested, along with a number of others to be trialled by the Council, can gobble up all types of waste and can hold much more rubbish than the bins used by manual street cleaners.  The machines will be powered by electricity so there will be no dangerous emissions and as they will be able to operate silently they will be suitable for early morning use. An additional bonus is that they will also provide training for recruits to the street cleaning services in a scheme run to provide employment for residents by Greenwich Local Labour and Business (GLLaB).

Councillor Jackie Smith, said: “Keeping the streets clean and litter free is of utmost importance to everyone’s quality of life, which is why we have decided to bring in the latest technology we possibly can to support our work.

“We are trying out a number of systems to ensure we get the most effective kit with the highest possible green credentials. The aim is to deploy them in the busy and popular town centres to ensure they are spick and span for residents, businesses and visitors.  Greenwich is one of the European locations where driverless cars are being developed and so it is only fit that we should also have the most cutting edge tools to make our street cleaning service even more greener and efficient.

Councillor Sizwe James, Cabinet member for Transport, Economy and Smart Cities, said:  “These machines will provide great training opportunities for many GLLAB recruits in the use of the latest cutting edge technology. Despite constrained financial resources we are determined to continually drive forward improvements to our street cleaning services by using equipment fit for the 21st century.”

The Council has a zero tolerance approach to littering and all forms of environmental crime. People who drop their take away cartons, plastic drink bottles or cigarette butts on the streets or open spaces face a £75 on-the-spot fine.  The Council works to proactively remove fly-tips and is among the first of the local authorities to commit to the £400 Fixed Penalty Notice.

To report information on litterers and fly-tippers visit www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/flytipping  or contact the Envirocrime team on: 020 8921 4661.