THURROCK is set to cut street cleaning and plant wild flowers on grass verges to help tackle the council’s £34.3million funding gap.

The council is expecting a Government funding reduction up to 2024 and is looking at ways of make savings and boost its income.

Street scene services are hoping to save £100,000 by cutting street cleaning, including a review of cleaning of major routes and town centre cleaning.

Currently main roads in towns within the borough are cleaned by street sweeping trucks with the support of a major route cleansing team. This team is comprised of three people and a van.

The council is considering removing this team and instead increasing the number of times major roads are swept mechanically.

A report to councillors on the cleaner, greener and safer overview and scrutiny committee, said: “ There is a risk that reducing the capacity of the street cleansing service will result in less frequent litter picking in some areas.

“The mitigating actions that could be taken to address this is to continue to remind residents not to litter through education and information, and ultimately to increase the levels of Environmental Enforcement.”

Ground maintenance is also set to be cut with wildflower zones introduced in parks and on some verges.

The report adds: “The impact could be mitigated by converting some of the existing full time positions into seasonal posts. This will ensure that the teams are able to focus on maintenance of grass areas during summer months.

“The longer term impact will be to reduce the level of maintenance that can be carried out to hedgerows and cycle path shrubs in winter.”

If approved, seven full-time jobs will be lost on the two saving schemes.

Joycelyn Redsell, chairman of the scrutiny committee, which will discuss the proposals on Thursday (7/10), said: “I have invited the portfolio holder to the meeting and we will be asking questions. There are too many questions that need to be asked. It’s alright having wildlife areas but we planted some lovely poppies in Stanford Road and then the cleaner greener team came along with weed killer and killed them all.

“We all have to do our bit. The last few months have shown us that. We know we have to save money but it’s got to be saved in the right place. When you come along the A13 coming into Lakeside it’s a terrible mess but that isn’t our responsibility. It’s down to Essex County Council but we shouldn’t have to be cleaning up people’s rubbish. People have to make more of an effort to be responsible for their own rubbish.”