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Medway's fire engines show love for council campaign

Date: 12/12/2011           Category: Communications

A campaign to keep Medway clean, green and safe has won the support of Kent Fire and Rescue Service as part of their work to reduce rubbish fires.

The Love Medway campaign, which encourages people to report incidents of fly tipping, littering and other environmental issues, is being supported by the fire service as part of their work in reducing deliberate and accidental outdoor fires in Medway.

The cab doors of three of Medway's fire trucks will be donned with the Love Medway logo to show their support and increase awareness of the dangers caused by dumped rubbish and litter being set alight.

Over a quarter of all blazes* attended to in Medway over the past year were rubbish fires and across the area an estimated 2,200 tonnes of cigarette butts, snack food wrappers and other waste are picked up by the council from pavements and green spaces at an annual cost to residents of £2.8 million.

The Love Medway app, launched in April, allows people to take and submit photographs of issues affecting their area such as dumped rubbish, street litter and abandoned vehicles so that the council can deal with the problem.

The app makes it easier, cheaper and quicker for residents and community officers to report problems, reducing the time it takes to get the query on the system from around 20 minutes to 40 seconds.

It also automatically appears on a dedicated website where residents can track other reported issues including how long they take to resolve.

The Love Medway campaign has had more than 6,000 reports of environmental issues to date and the number of members of public reporting issues each month has increased from 19 reports in April to 112 in November.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Customer Contact, Cllr Mike O’Brien, said: “Both Medway Council and the fire service want to see incidents of flytipping or littering reduce and make people aware that dumped rubbish is an easy target for irresponsible vandals to take advantage of.

“By joining forces we can spread the message about the risks of rubbish fires, particularly at this time of year when households have so much more packaging and wrapping to dispose of. We can also make more people aware of how they can report issues such as rubbish or littering so we can prevent these incidents happening in the first place.

“I’m pleased that Kent Fire and Rescue are supporting the Love Medway campaign and I look forward to working with them on keeping Medway clean, green and safe.”

Medway Fire Station Watch Manager Mike Robins said: “We attended 277 rubbish fires in the past year in Medway and while they may seem trivial, they not only blight our neighbourhoods they also have the potential to cause significant injury and damage to property and livelihoods.

“Fires like these also represent a huge drain on our own and partners’ resources. We are pleased to be able to support Medway Council with this initiative and hope that residents will also take notice and help us to make the towns a safer place to live and work.”

*26.4 per cent between December 2010 and November 2011.