Make landlords tag mattresses to stop dumping epidemic in Brent, says councillor

Cllr Lia Colaccico, Cllr Ernest Ezeajughi and Cllr Matt Kelcher at the council’s household recycling

Cllr Lia Colaccico, Cllr Ernest Ezeajughi and Cllr Matt Kelcher at the councils household recycling centre. - Credit: Archant

A councillor has dreamt up a cure for the mattress dumping epidemic in Brent – making landlords tag them all.

The council’s recycling centre in Abbey Road is tasked with getting rid of 600 mattresses a week at the moment, most of which have been illegally disposed of on pavements or green spaces.

After a visit to the site to see the “mattress mountain” himself, Kensal Green’s Cllr Matt Kelcher has had enough of the escalating problem – and vowed not to take it lying down.

At next week’s full council meeting he will formally ask environment chief Cllr Krupa Sheth to consider bringing in a tagging requirement for all private landlords as part of their licence.

Cllr Kelcher has the support of his ward’s local residents’ group, who have also grown tired of the dumping.

“I was just trying to look for an idea to discourage people from doing it,” he told the Times. “People may say ‘well, what about the mattresses that come from outside the borough and aren’t tagged?’, but don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.

“If you can do something to tackle it even in one part of the sector you should.

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“It’s a big problem. We have a large private sector population and every six months or a year people move out and throw out furniture, which is one of the reasons it stacks up.

“They are really difficult to recycle and in my ward it’s a problem people are particularly annoyed about.

“We’re licensing landlords now anyway and I don’t think giving them one more thing to do would be too much.”

In response, Cllr Sheth has said: “Mattress tagging has not been considered before now and is not something that seems to be undertaken elsewhere.

“There is therefore no track record of how effective the approach might be or how it might be enforced.

“Unfortunately, landlords seeking to illegally dispose of large items such as mattresses usually take very careful steps to remove any evidence before they do so.

“Nevertheless, we remain open to any new ideas that will help reduce illegal dumping.”

Cllr Sheth said a new service meant landlords need only ask the council to remove mattresses, and that a new programme targeting dumping hotspots had seen fly-tipping go down.