AN investigation has been launched into street cleaning standards in Worcester - after months of anger over rubbish blighting the city.

Following growing concern about litter and overflowing public waste bins, Worcester City Council has agreed to launch its own in-house probe into how bad the problem is.

A special 'anti-litter' task force will examine if the service taxpayers' fork out for is really up to scratch following a spate of complaints about mess in areas like St Peter's, Tolladine Road and the city centre.

The investigation comes as council chiefs prepare to press the green light on a hard-hitting blitz on rubbish sacks left on the High Street, with the threat of £100 fines for shopkeepers who fail to toe the line.

The in-house review into street cleaning will be led by four politicians from both the Labour and Conservative groups, and be tasked with finding out if the current services are good enough.

In recent weeks several littering incidents have blighted Worcester, including piles of mess left on the High Street in broad daylight and mess strewn down Tolladine Road.

There has also been concern about the appearance of open space in St Peter's, with the bins regular overflowing leaving mess to spill onto paths and grassed areas.

Last month people also contacted this newspaper citing concern over the appearance of South Quay and Gheluvelt Park.

Over the summer the Labour administration scrapped an old Conservative proposal to outsource street cleansing to the private sector.

Conservative group leader Councillor Marc Bayliss, who chairs the scrutiny committee, said he is still getting complaints from people about rubbish, including one resident "appalled" by litter in Battenhall.

"We think the service has declined in recent months, in fact one of the reasons why we wanted the outsourcing was because Duncan Sharkey (the former managing director) said the service couldn't get any better in-house," he said.

"This review is going to be very interesting."

Labour Councillor Jabba Riaz, cabinet member for clean, green and leisure services, said: "The review will be very useful for me to see where we are as a city, what could we be doing better, where are we doing well and how can we measure the service."

The review will be led by Tory councillors James Stanley and Andy Roberts alongside Labour's Elaine Williams and Matt Lamb, and will last four months.

The likes of businesses, shops, tourism bodies, volunteers, members of the public and even other councils will be asked for their views.

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A BAN on retailers leaving rubbish sacks out for collection overnight will launch in November, it has emerged.

Yesterday the city council's Labour leadership revealed it will press ahead with the move, with shops who ignore the ruling liable for a £100 fine or even court action.

The policy suggestion first emerged back in February, and was one of the old Conservative administration's last big ideas before it lost power in May.

The idea went out for public consultation over the summer and has now been taken on by Labour, which is set to vote it through during a cabinet meeting next Tuesday.

It means from November 1 retailers can only leave their rubbish out between 6am-9.30am on their collection day.

It follows years of concern about seagulls and other vermin ripping bags open overnight, leaving mess strewn across footpaths.

Revellers going out at night have also targeted the bags, leaving a poor impression for visitors.

A spokesman for the council said "very few" comments were made during the consultation period to warrant a change of tack.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 a £100 fine would discount to £60 if paid within 10 days.

Councillor Jabba Riaz, the cabinet member for clean, green and leisure services, said: "Ensuring Worcester’s city centre remains attractive is a key objective for this council - reducing the times when refuse can be left out for collection is an important step towards achieving this."