Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - Front Page - by CHARLES CAPEL ed­i­to­ri­aluxbridge@trin­i­ Twit­ter: @GetWest­Lon­don

COUNCILS in west Lon­don spent nearly £1m clean­ing up graf­fiti last year, it has been re­vealed.

Fig­ures re­leased un­der Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion (FoI) leg­is­la­tion high­light the true cost of graf­fiti to Lon­don’s lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

Of the 17 Lon­don bor­oughs that replied to the FoI re­quest, Hilling­don Coun­cil spent the most of any Lon­don au­thor­ity clean­ing up af­ter van­dals – a stag­ger­ing £225,480.

This was not only the high­est fig­ure in Lon­don, but the sec­ond high­est in the coun­try.

Fur­ther­more, the top four bor­oughs that re­sponded were all in west Lon­don, spend­ing a com­bined to­tal of £836,480 – ris­ing to more than £900,000 for the whole of west Lon­don.

The av­er­age spend per Lon­don bor­ough was £95,510.55 last year, mean­ing if all bor­oughs had replied, Lon­don would have spend more than £2.7m on clean­ing up af­ter van­dals.

The in­for­ma­tion was ob­tained by Vinyl Revo­lu­tion cov­er­ing the pe­riod June 30, 2016, through July 1, 2017. Seven­teen out of Lon­don’s 29 bor­oughs replied.

Vinyl Revo­lu­tion man­ag­ing direc­tor Ben­jamin Gib­ert said: “With these kinds of fig­ures, it’s clear graf­fiti still has a great pres­ence in Lon­don.

“Many bor­oughs are ded­i­cat­ing a sub­stan­tial amount of their an­nual bud­get to clear­ing pub­lic spa­ces of van­dal­ism.

“For many, this is an im­por­tant is­sue, and they see graf­fiti as an un­seemly and un­wel­come sight within pub­lic spa­ces.

“How­ever it’s clear to see that there are also many who en­joy graf­fiti and wel­come it as an in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic and unique way to give voice to the peo­ple.”

Hilling­don Coun­cil says it has a zero tol­er­ance ap­proach to graf­fiti, and would rather not clean up any at all.

“We take a zero tol­er­ance ap­proach to graf­fiti and have teams out pro-ac­tively in­spect­ing the bor­ough and re­mov­ing graf­fiti on a daily ba­sis,” said a spokesman.

“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to spend any money on graf­fiti re­moval. How­ever, it is a nec­es­sary in­vest­ment to en­sure our neigh­bour­hoods are clean for res­i­dents.

“The cost quoted for clean­ing graf­fiti also in­cludes some gen­eral clean­ing, such as chew­ing gum re­moval, bin clean­ing and power wash­ing.”

A coun­cil spokesper­son for Eal­ing said their res­i­dents had a right to clean streets, and they aim to re­move 90% of graf­fiti within two days.

“Res­i­dents rightly ex­pect their lo­cal neigh­bour­hood to be clean and free of van­dal­ism which is why the coun­cil in­vests sig­nif­i­cantly in pro-ac­tively and rapidly re­spond­ing to re­ports of graf­fiti.

“We pro­vide a free graf­fiti and fly­post re­moval ser­vice for all coun­cilowned, com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial prop­erty and aim to re­move 90% of all re­ported graf­fiti within two work­ing days.

“Eal­ing is one of the largest bor­oughs in Lon­don and we re­main com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that un­sightly graf­fiti is tack­led wher­ever it is en­coun­tered.

“We en­cour­age res­i­dents to help us by re­port­ing van­dal­ism where they see it.”

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