A TEAM which keeps a city clean for businesses has gone green in a bid to beat congestion and cut pollution.
Newcastle’s business improvement district company, NE1, dispatches its rapid-response Clean Team to deal with litter, graffiti and other unsightly problems affecting firms in the city.
The aim is to add to the street cleaning provided by the city council and give a speedy service.
The team is now using pedal power to get around the city more quickly and in a more environmentally-friendly fashion.
Workers are using two bikes with trailers to get around with their cleaning kit, which they hope will cut their travelling time, while dodging congestion and parking problems.
With the new cycle response teams, the service has expanded by 25%.
The Clean Team aims to respond immediately to calls from city centre businesses to deal with litter, graffiti or other hygiene issues.
The idea for the bikes came about because NE1 wanting to avoid extending its fleet of vans in a bid to cut fuel use and CO2 emissions.
Journeys of less than five miles or less, which account for most of the trips taken by the team, are the least efficient for motor vehicles, as cold engines use almost twice as much fuel as warm ones and some catalytic converters can take five miles to become effective.
Previously, the team has responded to call outs either on foot, or in a van.
In future, a van will only be deployed where more heavy-duty equipment is needed to tackle the problem. Adrian Waddell, operations manager at NE1, said: “It’s the Clean Team’s role to deal with all manner of things businesses would rather not have to tackle, be it litter, graffiti or other more unsavoury problems that affect the streets of all major cities.
“Fortunately the Clean Team can respond immediately to a call for help and can deal with the problem quickly and efficiently. With the new clean team’s cycle force, the response time should be even quicker.”
Since the service was launched in July 2009, it has taken an average of more than 89 call outs each week.
Businesses which have benefited from the Clean Team’s services include the Albatross International Backpackers Hostel on Grainger Street and Sintons’ Solicitors on Barrack Road. Chris Picha and Liane Rose, who manage the hostel, called on NE1 to clean up the area at the front of the building.
Mr Picha said: “I was slightly embarrassed about the cleanliness of the front of our building.
“We are in an old Georgian building and first impressions for foreign visitors were often misleading.
“We’re not responsible for the street’s cleanliness and the pedestrian area was littered with chewing gum and the aftermath of night time revelry.
“The Clean Team were great, when we asked for help, they said they’d get it done in the twinkle of an eye and they were as good as their word. They came the next day with powerful cleaning equipment and the building and area around it looked as good as new. The Clean Team and their colleagues in the City Rangers are a great asset to the city and have supported our business.
“They often direct foreign visitors, new to the city, to the hostel and are conducive to bringing the city community together and fostering a neighbourhood feel for Newcastle.”
Charles Penn from Sintons’ called in the team to sort out a mess in front of the firm’s office.
He said: “Keeping the streets and areas in the city centre clean is important for creating the right impression and standards need to be high. The rapid response from NE1 was particularly helpful.”