Swanley Town Council has escalated its campaign to tackle the constant blight of fly-tipped trolleys across the town, becoming one of the first town councils in Kent to receive devolved powers on holding supermarkets to account.
Using devolved powers from Sevenoaks District Council under Schedule 4 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the town council will now have powers to fine supermarkets for abandoned trolleys.
The fines will financially encourage supermarkets to put in permanent measures to prevent their trolleys from being taken and abandoned across pavements and roads in the town.
The powers have come at the right time: one major supermarket in Swanley has recently cancelled its contract with ‘Trolleywise’, a third party company that collects reported abandoned trolleys.
There is no indication of how it will replace the Trolleywise service or take any responsibility for collecting its trolleys, meaning the number of trolleys abandoned could increase if action is not taken.
Leader of Swanley Town Council, Cllr Michael Horwood, stated ‘”I welcome these devolved powers to lobby the supermarkets in putting better measures to prevent their trolleys from ending up sprawled across our town.
Although we recognise it is a small number of residents fly-tipping, it is unlikely the District Council will ever identify and prosecute those responsible.
We therefore hope that the supermarkets will take robust action to put permanent measures in place, like wheel locking schemes, to stop trolleys from being taken out of the town centre.”
CEO of Swanley Town Council Mr Steve Nash said “Fines for trollies will start at £15 per trolley but rise to £20 if not collected in time and then storage will be charged per week.
After that the council will dispose of them and the owners will be charged £60 for each trolley.
The money raised will help meet the costs of staff time in collecting trolleys across the town, often fighting a never-ending battle in clearing away trolleys from public land whenever they can.”
Mayor of Swanley Councillor Lesley Dyball, who is also a District Councillor said “It’s not fair that our residents should suffer these trolleys everywhere, at any one time there can be as any as 100 around the town, I am glad we are able to take more affirmative action”.
Notices have been issued to all the stores and the fines will start to be implemented at the start of August.
Any residents who are caught fly-tipping will also be reported to the District Council for potential criminal prosecution.