A DEDICATED cleansing squad should be set up to blitz the worst affected back courts and lanes from fly-tipping, according to a union.

Last month, the Glasgow Times reported on Kingarth Lane in Govanhill where piles of furniture and black bags were blocking the lane, making it difficult for cleansing teams to access the empty bins.

GMB, which represents cleansing workers, said someone has to step in and take responsibility to solve what it described as a growing environmental health hazard.

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As the council does not own any back courts it is not responsible for back courts and some back lanes are privately owned.

The council said it is for owners and landlords to keep the back courts clean and this idea would mean a cost to taxpayers.

Chris Mitchell, convener for GMB cleansing workers, said someone needs to take action.

Glasgow Times:

He said: “We want back court teams to be reintroduced to clear up this mess.”

He said the idea was mooted before and had some support from local politicians and housing associations but has not been adopted.

He added: “The team would go in and remove the bulk from back courts and clear other areas.

“Owners and tenants would sign up to an agreement to take responsibility.

“I think it would work. People want someone to take control of this.

"People are blaming each other for the mess in some of these back courts and lanes and all the while it gets worse.”

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He said there used to be back court teams but were cut around 20 years ago.

Mr Mitchell added: “We want to see it trialled in certain areas. The rapid response teams do a great job in Govanhill on the streets, this would clean up the back courts.

“Someone has to clean it up and get a solution to this. There is an opportunity to fix this if people are willing to work for it. Someone has to make the first move.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: “The GMB’s idea would require the council to use taxpayers' money to pay to clean up private property with no way to recoup that cost and no guarantee that the problem would not quickly reoccur.

“The council works closely with partners to protect the environment, however, the maintenance of private property, such as back courts and lanes, is a matter for residents, owners (including housing associations) and factors.

“The council is not a factor and has not had backcourt teams for well over 10 years. Many housing associations and factors already have their own back court teams, as the responsibility for the upkeep and condition of back courts lies with owners.

“Currently, if residents do not dispose of their waste correctly and the owners do not tackle it, the council’s environmental health team has legal powers under the Environmental Protection Act to take enforcement action against those responsible for maintaining their property.

“Environmental health can serve a notice and clear the waste, then charge the costs to those responsible – to ensure it is not the taxpayer who is picking up the bill.”