Local Government has key role in making Britain cleaner, safer, greener
5 December, 2002


Local government has a key role in tackling the social blight of litter, graffiti and the fear of crime Barbara Roche, Minister for Social Exclusion and Equality, told a conference on street management today.

Speaking at the New Local Government Network (NLGN) conference ‘The Liveability Agenda: Working Towards Joined-Up Street Management’, the Minister urged people to respond to Government consultation on changes to the legislative framework that affects the way public spaces are designed, managed and maintained.

Barbara Roche said:
“Successful, thriving and prosperous communities are characterised by streets, parks and open spaces that are clean, safe, attractive – areas that local people are proud of and want to spend their time. Tackling failure, such as litter, graffiti, fly-tipping, abandoned cars, dog fouling, the loss of play areas or footpaths, is for many people the top public service priority.

“Government can and will take the lead but the solutions will invariably be local. We need to give local leaders and decision-makers the power to get the job done. We will set targets for improvements. We will also provide sources of advice and expertise to help get the job done. Those responsible will know what action they should take to deliver the cleaner, safer and greener public spaces that everyone has a right to expect.”

The options for reforming legislation were set out in Living Places – Powers, Rights, Responsibilities, launched at the recent Urban Summit. This should, said Barbara Roche, facilitate a simplified and clarified legislative framework and should ensure that not only do those authorities with the duties and remit to take action know where they stand but that the public will know what recourse they have if they are not satisfied.

A detailed report and review of the present state of Britain’s public spaces was set out in a sister publication, Living Places – Cleaner, Safer, Greener, that identified best practice across the country and the importance of local environmental quality to creating inclusive and sustainable communities.

Barbara Roche told delegates at the NLGN conference:
“The forthcoming communities’ plan will set out the Government’s vision for the ‘communities of the future’ and good quality public space will feature as a crucial part of this agenda. The plan will include key points and a clear plan of action to make this a reality.”

The Living Places documents draw upon work done during the course of an Inter-departmental review of programmes and policies that affect the public realm that formed part of Spending Review 2002. This is the first time that central Government has sought to take such an approach to such policies.

Living Places and Powers, Rights and Responsibilities are available via the departmental websites – www.odpm.gov.uk and www.defra.gov.uk/environment/localenv respectively

Barbara Roche was speaking at a New Local Government Network (NLGN) conference ‘The Liveability Agenda: Working Towards Joined-Up Street Management’ held today in central London.

All NLGN media enquiries to Ian Parker – 020 7357 0116 / ian@nlgn.org.uk