Barking and Dagenham Council launched its Eyesore Gardens scheme in 2009 to tackle the problem of rubbish filled or overgrown front gardens. Since then the scheme has gone from strength to strength, with the team dealing 3,050 untidy gardens last year - an average of more than eight per day.
Yesterday Home Secretary Theresa May announced that people who leave rubbish in their front gardens could be fined £100 or be taken to court, facing a possible fine of £2,500. Cllr Liam Smith, Leader of the Council, said this is something that is already happening in Barking and Dagenham.
“We decided to tackle the problem of eyesore gardens three years ago because of the amount of complaints from residents who said that untidy gardens were bringing the area down,” said Cllr Smith. “We checked the environmental health regulations and found that we already had the necessary powers at our disposal to take action.
“Our Eyesore Gardens team visits households that have particularly bad gardens and asks the householder to clean up the mess. If no action is taken we issue a legal notice, and that means that if they don’t do the work they will be fined or asked to pay for the cost of clean-up. The scheme has been a success and is popular with residents, the majority of whom don’t want to live next door to a pile of rubbish.”
Cllr Smith added: “We believe we were the first local authority to set up a team dedicated to tackling eyesore front gardens. I’m pleased to see that Theresa May has endorsed what we’re doing in Barking and Dagenham.”