Veolia supports 'Love Clean London' at Mayor's launch

The Mayor today urged Londoners to help spruce up the capital by reporting ‘grime-crime’ such as graffiti, litter and fly-tipping using internet and mobile phone technology. The innovative system enables users to track progress of clean-ups whilst also delivering financial savings for boroughs.

‘Love Clean London’ works by allowing people to upload photographs onto an online map of environmental issues that require action by the local authority. The system— invented and pioneered by Lewisham council—gives people an easy way to help their borough keep communities clean, receive prompt action when a report is sent and help boroughs direct their resources to the areas that need them most.

Users can submit reports using a free mobile phone application, send a text or visit the lovecleanlondon.org web portal. A GPS signal enables participating boroughs to receive the report as an email to then action. An interactive map shows all the reports, updating on the progress taken. The website shows environmental black-spots and also places where clean ups have taken place either by councils or volunteers.

With just over 500 days to go until the start of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Mayor wants to encourage higher standards of street cleanliness. Love Clean London also supports the Mayor's drive to stimulate London's high tech and digital industries to find new solutions to city issues and create new jobs and enterprises.

The Mayor launched the London-wide version of Lewisham’s scheme in Richmond - the latest borough to sign up to promote the scheme, by helping to clean up graffiti near Richmond town centre. This follows a letter from the Mayor inviting all boroughs to join the scheme.

The Mayor was joined by Lord True, leader of Richmond council and Cllr Susan Wise from Lewisham council.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: ‘Eyesores such as litter, graffiti and fly-tipping are a real blight on our environment. It also costs boroughs millions to clear up the mess of a small number of irresponsible individuals. Love Clean London gives people an easy way to report a discarded mattress or an outbreak of graffiti, helping their boroughs to direct finite resources where they are most needed.'

'In tough financial times, this smart use of technology can deliver genuine savings whilst encouraging people to take an active pride in their local environment. I am urging more boroughs to get behind it and more Londoners to spruce up the capital in the run up to 2012 and beyond.’

Lewisham council has been pioneering the use of this system for more than five years. The council has been able to hold street cleansing spending at 2003/04 levels whilst experiencing significant improvements in customer satisfaction, clean-up times and standards.

For example complaints about graffiti fell by 30 per cent in just two years from the system going live and the borough has seen an 87 per cent reduction in time spent to process an issue reported to them using the system. A report using this system costs Lewisham £1.50 in comparison to a web based report costing £4.10 and a report by phone, £5.10.

Councillor Susan Wise, Lewisham's Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said: ‘For several years now Lewisham has been at the forefront in tackling nuisance crimes like graffiti and fly-tipping, crimes which the police aren't able to prioritise but which can really affect people's quality of life.'

'So I'm delighted that our own efforts have been picked up and spread London-wide. Encouraging Londoners to get involved and report the problems they see not only helps improve the areas in which they live but by using this state of the art, easy to use technology it's a cost effective way of helping to create cleaner, greener places.’

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said: 'This council hates selfish graffiti vandalism and wants clean streets. People have told us in the All In One survey that high quality public open space is their top priority. Today we are introducing officially into Richmond upon Thames a scheme of the Mayor’s which has been successfully piloted in Lewisham.'

'I am delighted to welcome Boris and colleagues from Lewisham here. Keeping our public realm in pristine condition is a job for all of us –council and local people working together – and, with the Mayor’s help, we want this community to be number one in London for that.

'This very smart application will make it easier than ever for people who are out and about and who are our eyes and ears in the fight against the litter louts, fly tippers and graffiti thugs to tell us about problems and get them resolved.'

The cloud’ or ‘cloud computing’ allows organisations to be freed from the burden of running their own IT infrastructure by having their software and data held on shared servers in cyberspace rather than on their own dedicated machines at fixed locations (i.e. in offices or homes).

Love Clean London is built on “Azure” – cloud computing technology from Microsoft. Londoners can submit reports using a free Windows Phone 7 or other smartphone app which can be downloaded from the cloud. There people can see and search for all the reports in their area and share them through social networking sites, review progress, or subscribe to updates.

The website was developed by Microsoft certified partner bbits and features an interactive map using the latest Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in and Bing Maps for Enterprise to show reports in real time – all of which is hosted in the cloud. The system can be fully integrated into local authority systems using the Microsoft .NET Framework, ensuring that issues can be dealt with smoothly and allowing developers to create their own applications to submit and retrieve reports.

 
Jason Burton, Government Industry Market Development Manager, Microsoft UK, said:  ‘Love Clean London is a leading example of a citizen-centric public service. We are excited to see Cloud and mobile technologies being brought together in a way that helps to markedly improve local authorities’ engagement with the communities they serve. Love Clean London will enable Londoners to communicate with their local councils in a new and interactive way and, thanks to the scalability and flexibility of cloud computing technologies, the service can be delivered at a fraction of the cost of a traditional IT solution.’

The existing system is funded by Capital Ambition. Veolia Environmental Services, the recycling and waste management company which works with boroughs across London helped develop the system and has committed to use Love Clean London within its street cleansing and refuse operations. In addition, as the scheme rolls out, Veolia sees a role for its frontline crews in using the new application and smartphone technology. By reporting environmental issues as staff do their rounds, the crew will increase the efficiency of clean up operations.

William Payne, Chief Information Officer, Veolia Environmental Services, added: ‘We are delighted to support Love Clean London which uses the latest technology to help Londoners and our street cleansing and refuse collection crews across the capital join forces to play a pro-active role in reporting and resolving grime-related and environmental issues more quickly and efficiently.’

Notes to editors:

For further information on Lewisham council’s pioneering ‘Love Lewisham’ and ‘Love Clean Streets’ websites and apps contact, Daniel Shepherd, tel: 020 83146081.

Veolia Environmental Services, part of the Veolia Environnement Group, is the UK’s leading waste management company. With a sizeable presence throughout the UK, mainland Europe and the world, Veolia Environmental Services employs 85,600 people worldwide, servicing more than 73 million customers in 33 countries. (Source: Human Resources data 2009).

For more information see www.veolia.co.uk. Press queries: Martin Curtois, Group Communications Manager, tel: 0207 812 5034.

According to IDC, for Jan to Jul 2011, sales of smartphones are predicted to be 65 per cent in the UK of total phone sales.

PRESS INFORMATION is available from Nicola Dillon and Hilary Merrett on 020 7983 4755/4066 (not for publication) or email: environmentdesk@london.gov.uk

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