Hitting the streets with the ‘man in a van’


The city council’s new ‘man in a van’ service is its latest weapon in the fight to keep the district clean and tidy.

With enforcement officer Matab Ullah at the wheel, the van is out and about in the district every day, responding to reports of flytipping and litter.

The aim is to investigate dumped rubbish and take enforcement action where possible, and clear the mess at the same time. Until now, the council has not been able to carry out clean ups immediately, but arrange for clearance via its contractors.

It means incidents can be tackled swiftly and the public can get a quicker response to their calls. As ever, though, this depends on whether the issue is on public or private land – if it’s the latter, problems can take longer to resolve.

When District Life joined Matab for a morning’s work, the joined up approach the service provides quickly became clear.

The first stop was a pile of black rubbish sacks dumped in a residential area. Matab found out who they belonged to, and this meant he was able to give a £400 fine to the person who put them there. The bags were taken away.

Next we were off to a report that had come in via the council’s Facebook page overnight about a skip full of rubbish near St Martin’s Church. Matab was able to speak to neighbours about how long it had been there.

The skip was on private land though, requiring Matab to carry out further investigations about who owned it back in the office, with the aim of clearing it at no cost to the council.

The final visit of the morning was to a report of black sacks left on the pavement in Honeywood Close. A scout round the area revealed no bags, but did uncover a pile of dumped metal and wood, which Matab quickly had in the back of the van.

The council’s Head of Safer Neighbourhoods, Doug Rattray, said: “We’re very pleased this new addition to our enforcement work is up and running. You should see the van on the district’s streets regularly and we’ll be publicising the work that’s carried out on social media and via the local press.”

If you’ve spotted flytipping or litter you can report it online.