Use the Clean Camden App

Download and use the Clean Camden App – Veolia receive fines for not responding to reports quickly enough.

Introduction

The Clean Camden App is a mobile application which allows the public to report cleanliness issues on the go. These reports feed directly into Camden and Veolia’s own professional report and response system, and exceeding response times on reports leads to fines.

You can report litter and fly-tips to stickers and even human excrement.

Our research revealed that Veolia receive fines for not responding to Clean Camden reports quickly enough. The fine amount and the response times vary depending upon the type of report. This is explained below in the ‘Fines’ section.

There are also certain tricks that you must know to make sure your report is properly responded to. These are also explained in the ‘Proper Use’ section below.

Proper Use

It is important to read this section.

Veolia will do anything to get out of responding to a report. You have to take steps to make sure it is as hard as possible for them to do so.

The number one mistake that the public make with Clean Camden reports is that they do not make it obvious exactly where the report is. Veolia then simply claim that they ‘couldn’t find’ the issue reported.

This is a quick crash course to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

1. Use all three photos.

The app will allow you to take three photos. Make sure you use all three. Use one to take a photo of the issue, and then two to take photos showing exactly where it is. Make sure it is as obvious as possible.

When you take a photo of the problem, do not take an up-close photo. You need to take a photo of the problem in context – with the surroundings included. This will make it easier to locate the issue.

2. Use the description to describe exactly where the problem is.

Each report comes with a description. You should describe the problem but also describe exactly where it is – street/square name, preferably an address also. For example: ‘accumulation of litter directly outside 17 Gordon Square’.

The key take-away is that you have to make reports as though they are being sent to your grandma. If your grandma wouldn’t be able to find the location, then Veolia won’t.


Fines

Veolia are fined varying sums of money for exceeding response times on reports.

Litter

Reporting littered places is a little more complex than might be first imagined.

In reporting littered places you must keep in mind that there is a threshold of ‘litteredness’ below which Veolia will not respond to your report and will close it as incomplete.

Where this threshold lies is technically the line between ‘Grade B and Grade C’. These are technical definitions representing the ‘litteredness’ of a place, as defined in the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse, a governmental document supplementing the Environmental Protection Act. More on this can be discussed here.

In short though, for Veolia to respond to a report there must be an ‘accumulation’ of litter in a place. This means at least one area where there is at least a small collection of litter. Ideally there should be ‘multiple accumulations‘ through the area. The ‘area’ can be a street or square.

Accumulation of Litter (and Leaves)

You can simply kick separated pieces of litter into a pile and take a photo of that and call it an ‘accumulation’ in the description. This does work.

Response times vary depending upon the ‘intensity of use’ of a place. This is another technical governmental term. The intensity of a place can be ‘high’, ‘medium’, or ‘low’.

We can think of very busy places like Euston Road as ‘high’, commercial areas such as Marchmont Street as ‘medium’, and every other road as ‘low’.

First Report Fines

Intensity of UseResponse TimeFine
Low12 hours£22.79
Medium8 hours£22.79
High4 hours£22.79

The upshot is that if Veolia don’t respond to a report of litter within 12 hours, they are fined about £23.

If your report is not responded to within the appropriate timescale, you can make a second report and Veolia will be then fined an increased amount.

Second Report Fines

Intensity of UseResponse TimeFine
Low6 hours£56.98
Medium4 hours£56.98
High2 hours£56.98

The upshot of all this is if you make a report of litter and after 12 hours there is no response, and you then make a second report and there is no response within 6 hours, Veolia will be fined a total of about £80.

However you must keep in mind that a road or square really must be littered in the sense that there is at least one accumulation of litter, and preferably multiple accumulations. If a road is not that littered then you will most likely not see a quick response or fines. However Veolia typically send out an operative to get things cleaned up within a week or so even if the road does not have ‘accumulations’ of litter.

Everything Else

Below details the response times and reports for everything else. There are no technical definitions here. It is worth keeping in mind however that you can report a bin as ‘overflowing’ if it is 85% full or more, not just if it actually is overflowing.

Vandalism means both graffiti and fly-posting.

Fines

Report TypeResponse TimeFine
Overflowing Litter Bin2 hours£34.13
Spillage after Waste Collection2 hours£34.13
Fly-tip1 working day£34.13
Offensive Vandalism24 hours£34.13
Non-offensive Vandalism5 working days£34.13

FAQ

I made a report but nothing has happened and it’s marked as complete. What is going on?

There are multiple reasons why this might happen. We are currently working on getting an update to the Clean Camden app so that when this does happen, Veolia must explain why. Currently this functionality is not available.

The most likely reason in our experience is that Veolia were ‘unable to find’ the report location. This means the user did not make it clear enough exactly where the problem was.

To stop this happening you should follow our ‘Proper Use’ section at the top of the page. Particularly make sure you take three photos and make the report’s location clear enough so that your grandma could find it.


I used the Proper Use advice but my report still isn’t being responded to. What is happening?

There are certain areas not contracted to Veolia. If you have made the location obvious but the report is not responded to, it is most likely that you have reported a place where Veolia are not contracted to clean.

The two most common places where this happens are private property and parks.

Much of what we would call public property is actually technically private. Many areas of the pavement are private especially if they are close to buildings. Veolia will not touch these areas.

Soft areas in parks are not contracted to Veolia but contracted to idVerde.


Does the Clean Camden App really work?

Yes.

Using Clean Camden regularly has been shown to dramatically increase the general cleanliness of an area. It highlights to managers when a cleansing operative is not performing properly, so you may see them working harder, or more resources brought in to your area.

However your use really should be consistent and regular to achieve this. Making a report every other week will not make a great deal of difference. Have the app on hand for every problem that you see and a difference will be made.


I’ve reported loads of bin bags as fly-tipping left out on the road but they’re not getting removed. What’s happening?

Most likely the bin bags are out for collection. Make sure you consider this before reporting any ‘fly-tips’.

We are currently working on a strategy to ensure waste is properly presented for collection, which can be outlined in our report.


I’m concerned about the levels of cleanliness in my neighbourhood but Camden are just telling me to use the Clean Camden app. What should I do?

Definitely use the app. There is a reason why Camden employees always tell people to use the app, although they stop short of saying why – that Veolia will be fined for not responding to your reports.

Making reports also acts as evidence for what you say. Any officer or manager will need evidence for your claims. So you should definitely use the app.

You can also meet with your local SAMO who is the Camden ‘litter officer’ to discuss cleanliness concerns and long term solutions to problems. However at the same time you should still be using the app.

We can put you in contact with your local SAMO by contacting us here.


I have a cleanliness concern that isn’t going to be solved by the Clean Camden app. What should I do?

Get in contact with us here and we can forward your concerns to the relevant SAMO (litter officer). We may also be able to give some advice, or we may already be working on the problem. You can see our report on litter and cleanliness in Bloomsbury here.

The best course of action is to have an on-street meeting with the local SAMO to discuss the problem. We would advise against trying to solve the issue by email.


The Clean Camden app is outdated and slow. Isn’t there a better option?

We are currently working to get updates to the Clean Camden app, which may include:

  1. Functionality so that respondents to reports must take a photo of their completed work.
  2. Functionality so that if a report is not responded to, Veolia explain why.
  3. Functionality to easily report when there has been a problem with a report not being properly completed.

We admit that the Clean Camden app is not the best – think of it as a crude tool just to ‘get things done’ in the area and record the problems that you are seeing. We hope that with updates the app will be much easier to use and more effective.


Get the App

On the App Store (Apple)

On the Play Store (Android)


More on our work with the street environment

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