Episode 15 Call the Council


Episode 15

Series following council officers. Officers stage a crackdown on rogue scrap metal traders and come to the assistance of a resident who calls for help with a noisy mill.


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Transcript


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From waste and recycling

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to pest control and Trading Standards...

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..the taxes that we pay to our local councils

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are used to provide many of our most essential services.

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I like people who are keen to recycle.

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In this series we follow the frontline staff

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working behind the walls of Tameside Town Hall

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in Greater Manchester.

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Like council officers across the country,

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these local heroes are waging war

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on those blighting our communities.

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-Oi, oi, oi!

-Excuse me!

-Excuse me, love, you can't do that!

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They're protecting us from hidden dangers...

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If there's rodent activity in your kitchen

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you won't be opening tonight. It's that simple.

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..making sure our cash is spent on those who need it most...

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I'm at a loose end.

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I do not know where to turn.

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..and responding to their residents when they call the council.

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Coming up...

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Tempers fray as the council enforces new regulations

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aimed at clamping down on the illicit trade of scrap metal.

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Yeah, I'm not happy about all these new licenses.

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I think it's a load of BLEEP.

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I think it's just robbing us...proper.

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A council officer responds to calls from concerned locals

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and rescues a disease-ridden dog in distress

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found roaming the streets.

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All his skin's split down the side of his face

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and he's started to bleed.

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And a resident calls the council

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to complain about a neighbouring mill

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that she believes is causing her endless sleepless nights.

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The noise was very bad last night.

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Like a "zzzz", like that. All the time.

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And so I never get a full night's sleep.

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Almost two million people in the UK work for one of our 433 councils.

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Funded by the taxes we pay,

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they work hard to stretch every penny of their budgets.

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From refuse collections and road maintenance

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to pest control and licensing businesses,

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hard working officers like John Gregory

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know that serving the public well is at the core of every task they do.

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The primary purpose of the licensing department in any local authority

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is to protect public safety.

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We deal with that stuff that falls

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just below the level of seriousness for the police

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but still has quite a serious impact on public safety.

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Like their council colleagues across the country,

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John's team controls a variety of licensed businesses,

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from pubs and clubs to off-licences and taxis.

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Another trade that has recently been regulated is scrap metal.

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The Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 2013 was established

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to licence the trade and stamp out metal theft.

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Today, John and his team are working with the police on Operation Alloy,

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which aims ensure that local dealers are adhering to the new legislation.

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The ones that want to operate legitimately

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have applied to us for licences.

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They will have a disc displayed in the vehicle

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that says they're licensed with us.

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Between April 2012 and March 2013

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police in England and Wales recorded over 61,000 metal theft offences.

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Nearly half of these involved removal of metal

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from structures linked to essential services

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like water, heating or electrical supplies,

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railway cabling and even manhole covers.

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42% of recorded offences

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related to thefts from metal fences, gates and war memorials.

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I'm sure we're all familiar with these people

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who travel round your estates,

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removing scrap metal off people's drives.

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What we want to do

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is filter out the known thieves from that.

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So there is a process where they have to apply to us.

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They have to produce a CRB Criminal Records check.

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And we have to carry out a number of background checks on these people

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to see that they're fit to do that.

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And if they're not, they won't get a licence.

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And if they carry on collecting scrap metal without a licence,

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they commit an offence.

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Until the new law came into effect in October 2013

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anyone could trade in scrap metal without a licence.

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But now mobile scrap metal collectors

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must display a licence on their vehicle

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and no dealers are allowed to buy scrap for cash.

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Licensing officers like John, and colleague Dave Smith,

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can revoke a dealer's licence at any time,

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and impose fines of up to £5,000.

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As part of today's operation

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it's Dave's job to find dealers out on the streets,

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so that their licence can be spot-checked.

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It's not long before he sees some traders with a vanload of scrap.

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All right, lads? How you doing?

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I'm from licensing at Tameside.

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Don't know if you know, we're running an operation today.

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I'm not happy about this new licensing.

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-I think it's a load of

-BLEEP.

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I think it's robbing us proper.

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Prices vary by region, but obtaining a licence can cost traders

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over £300 and has to be renewed every three years.

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I think there are people out there who like to bash the council.

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And certainly from an enforcement side of things you see that quite a bit.

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The trick is not to take it personally.

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I don't take what they're saying personally.

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It's one of those things that if it wasn't me doing it,

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somebody else would be doing it.

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It's a way of getting money out of you.

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As part of today's operation,

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the roadworthiness of each vehicle will also be checked.

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Dave escorts them to the council's depot to further

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inspect their truck and their paperwork.

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These lads with the scrap they've got on the back of their wagon,

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the tickets they've got should stipulate

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they were all collected in Stockport.

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If they collected waste in Tameside,

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they need a licence to do so.

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As the police and vehicle agency give the trucks a thorough

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once over, this dealer's day is about to get a lot

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worse as they discovers his tyres are very worn.

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The tyres aren't roadworthy so they'll need replacing.

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Every minute spent here is costing the dealers money.

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Should be out earning for my family, providing but I came here

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and let the police check and they told me I need two new tyres.

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Because they're getting very low. Another hundred quid, if not more.

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Again, for what? For these to have a little field day watching us all?

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We done nowt wrong. We're all above board, paid all our taxes.

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What more do you want off us? More money, I guess?

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But their ordeal's not over,

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because Dave wants to check that they're sticking to the conditions

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of the new licence regime and not collecting scrap from Tameside.

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Under the new legislative requirements you need to keep a

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record of the waste that you get and where you got it.

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There's a bit of an issue with this one

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because we've got a load of scrap on the back.

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He says it's from a certain place.

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But we've got no verification it's from this place.

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It could be, it might not be. I'm taking him at his word.

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I don't think he's lying, to be honest with you.

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But in terms of what's required legislatively he's not done

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what he needs to do.

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Dave has a difficult decision to make,

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but because the laws are new the traders are cautioned

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and warned that if they flout them in the future, council

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licensing officers like Dave and John may not be quite so lenient.

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Still to come, Operation Alloy continues to scour

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the borough looking for rogue scrap metal.

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Apparently he's put the scrap metal in the back to take

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it for a ride around the block and he's taking it home again.

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So we will deal with that appropriately.

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Across the nation, council environmental services teams

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deal with a plethora of problems blighting our day-to-day lives.

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From fly tipping and pest control to graffiti and noise pollution.

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Morning, Tameside council, can I help?

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I'll try the line for environmental services for you.

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Bear with me one moment.

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Last year, there were 200,000 noise nuisance

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complaints in England and Wales alone.

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Tameside resident Sheila Hardy has lodged one of them.

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She's called the council claiming that an apparently relentless

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noise from a nearby mill

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has led her to suffer six months of sleepless nights.

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It's a constant very loud humming, buzzing noise.

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I'm disturbed every night.

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It's very stressful because nobody wants to be awake all night long.

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As the noise is affecting Sheila's health and wellbeing,

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if it can be substantiated, it will be classed as a statutory

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nuisance, which could lead to prosecution.

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PHONE RINGS

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Hello, environmental services. Rodgers speaking.

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And it's the job of council officer Phil Rodgers to

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attempt to find a swift and amicable solution for all concerned.

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More often than not what tends to happen in regards to

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industrial noise is there will be a new process put in place,

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and they won't be aware that is causing a problem

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to the nearby domestic premises. It can be a nightmare.

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Phil's first task is to visit Sheila Hardy and establish

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if the levels of noise are causing a statutory nuisance.

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Hello, pleased to meet you.

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I'm Phil Rodgers from TMBC, I've spoken to you on the phone.

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As you know I've come to put recording equipment in.

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Is that OK?

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-That's fine.

-Shall we go and put it in the bathroom?

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Recording the noise will allow Phil to investigate Sheila's

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complaint in more detail.

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There's the mill.

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Yeah, I've had a look how close it is.

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We've measured it at 130m, I think.

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If the noise levels are excessive, and a therefore a legal

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nuisance, the council has the power to demand that the mill

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restricts the activities that are creating the noise.

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This is the activator which you'll press.

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If noise levels are a nuisance, failure to put abatement measures

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in place could ultimately lead to fines of up to £20,000.

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So are you quite happy using that?

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Yeah.

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-Right, splendid.

-Thank you very much.

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With the equipment in place, the onus is now on Sheila to

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capture evidence of the noise that's she's complaining about.

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Bye.

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Recording now wouldn't do any good.

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But when the surrounding noise levels drop there might be

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a perceivable hum or they might change the process at night

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when they do night work.

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So what I'm asking Mrs Hardy to do is record that

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when it affects her the most.

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And we'll analyse the recordings

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and look at the kind of levels she's having to put up with.

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Hopefully the outcome of this will be that

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I can get a good night's sleep again, with a bit of luck.

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Controlling noise pollution is just one of the many tasks undertaken

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by council officers across the country, who work tirelessly

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behind the scenes to provide the essential services we all rely on.

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Services that we sometimes take for granted.

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My job is to collect any stray animals that are out

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and about on the street. Good lad. It's mainly dogs, but we do do other

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things, like cats, horses, donkeys, snakes, whatever comes along.

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Today, Ian has responded to a call to the council

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about a disease-ridden dog that has been found roaming the streets.

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Got a little black terrier.

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The dog's got a lot of its fur missing. It looks a bit scabby and a bit smelly.

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I'll have a look to see if it needs immediate vet's treatment or

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we'll take it to the dogs' home and treat it down there.

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Ian's priority is to get the dog well enough to

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improve its chances of being rehomed.

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Every year, over 100,000 dogs are dumped or lost in the UK.

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Every one of them poses a risk as they're much more likely to

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carry infectious parasites or diseases.

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Dealing with them cost £57 million last year. A bill

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split between animal welfare charities

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and local authorities, which means we help foot the bill.

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With the skin condition I don't know what it is.

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So I'm going to put these rubber gloves on to look at it.

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That's if I can get the dog on a lead because it is a bit nervous

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and a bit frightened.

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If the skin condition's untreatable, the dog may have to be put down.

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Last year, almost 1,000 stray dogs were put to sleep due to

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ill health and over 2,000

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because of behavioural problems or aggression.

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Come on, we'll go for a walk.

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We'll go for a walk. Come on. Don't want to come out now, do you?

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Ian will do everything he can to reduce those figures, and the

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cost to us taxpayers, by stopping this young dog becoming a statistic.

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DOG GROWLS

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OK, I won't touch you then.

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I won't touch you.

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We'll go for a walk then.

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Ian's ultimate aim is for the dog to be rehomed with a family who

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will look after it properly. But that can only happen

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if the dog is in good condition and poses no danger to the public.

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For a chance for a dog to be rehomed it's got to be healthy.

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It's obvious. It seems quite a lively dog, aren't you?

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You look fit and healthy apart from the skin.

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But if it's being aggressive with you all the time

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and everything like that, you'll have to put it to sleep.

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DOG BARKS

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He's more frightened than anything at the moment.

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You can tell that by the tail.

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The tail's so far between his legs it's showing its fright.

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The hard part is we have to get him in the van.

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This dog has been so badly neglected it's reluctant to put

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-its trust in anyone.

-I don't want to do this to you.

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What the grasper does is it enables you to be able to control the dog.

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If I just use this normal lead there's nothing to stop

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the dog having a bite at me.

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I've been doing the job nearly 15 years.

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I've had the odd nips on my hands

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and things like that. The odd nip on my ankle.

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Come here.

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Come on then.

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In getting the lead on and the grasper, I don't know

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if I knocked a couple of scabs off or whatever

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but all his skin split on the side of his face and he started to bleed.

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Because there's bleeding involved, I'm going to take it to the vet's

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rather than take it to the dog's home.

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As only healthy animals can be rehomed, this dog needs

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immediate treatment. Without it, its future is looking very bleak.

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'I'd say 50/50.

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'If we leave it any longer, the dog gets really uncomfortable'

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and the dog's in pain. they're the ones that tend to get put to sleep.

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The vet will be able to identify the dog's illness and determine

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whether it's treatable.

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Might have trouble getting him up on the table.

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He doesn't want to be touched, basically.

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Have to be quick.

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I know.

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No touching, is there?

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A muzzle is fitted so the vet can carry out a thorough examination

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without fear of being bitten. The dog is clearly terrified.

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Calm down, laddie.

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The vet suspects he's suffering from mange. A parasitic disease,

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which can be contracted by humans and causes severe itching.

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I'll see what I can do just to see if he has got mange or not.

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They take skin samples to confirm his diagnosis.

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The dog is kept in overnight for observation.

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I'll come and see you tomorrow.

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Thanks to the swift actions of Ian and his colleagues,

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this young dog has a fighting chance of being saved.

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There's absolutely no need for a dog to end up in that condition.

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His claws are very long, he's very nervy.

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Don't like being out in open spaces.

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They've dumped it somewhere or given it to someone else to dump somewhere.

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You can't understand why people do that.

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Why get a dog in the first place if you're going to treat it like that?

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Coming up, Ian returns to the vets and the test results are in.

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But will the dog's condition be treatable, enabling him

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to be rehomed?

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Hello!

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Across the UK, road repairs, bin collections

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and hygiene inspections are some of the day-to-day tasks facing

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every local council. But responding to new challenges is

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when our heroic council officers come into their own.

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If you're finding anybody collecting scrap metal door to door without

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a licence, they are committing an offence as of the 1st of December.

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With the illegal trade of scrap metal on the rise,

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local councils are responding by enforcing a new law that

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requires all merchants to have a licence.

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We are now responsible for licensing scrap metal dealers including

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scrap metal collectors and yards.

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So we're involved

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because we have enforcement powers as well as the police.

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And we've got the facilities to allow them to come

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down and do a full enforcement.

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The licensing team have joined forces with police to spot

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check any traders carry scrap.

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How are you, lads? All right?

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In October 2013 the Scrap Metal Act was introduced requiring all

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scrap metal collectors to display their trader's licence

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on their vehicle and prove the source of their load.

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Back at the council depot, the next trader can't do either.

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Apparently he's put the scrap metal in the back to take it for

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a ride around the block and he's taken it home again.

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I suspect he's a scrap metal dealer and he's unlicensed.

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We will deal with that appropriately.

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His story might check out. It might be their waste.

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People do have wagons and their own waste

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but it just, on the face of it, looks like a collector.

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It would have been different if we had seen them

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roaming the streets collecting the scrap but we haven't.

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They've been stopped

0:19:180:19:20

and there's no proof either way of who that belongs to.

0:19:200:19:23

Without proof that the scrap has been collected illegally,

0:19:240:19:27

the driver is given a warning.

0:19:270:19:29

This new Scrap Metal Dealers Act, as well as licensing

0:19:300:19:33

the individuals involved, it requires scrap metal dealers not to pay cash.

0:19:330:19:38

It makes it a lot more difficult, if you're a scrap metal thief,

0:19:380:19:41

it makes it more difficult to get rid of it.

0:19:410:19:43

The outlets for that scrap metal should be reduced down to a minimum.

0:19:430:19:47

Licensing officer Dave Smith heads back out onto the streets to

0:19:510:19:55

pull in another vehicle to spot check,

0:19:550:19:57

and he soon has another scrap-loaded truck in his sights.

0:19:570:20:01

How you doing? You all right? How's things? All right.

0:20:010:20:04

There's a force-wide operation going on today.

0:20:040:20:07

We're taking vehicles in, checking your documentation and whatnot.

0:20:070:20:11

Making sure you're not overweight.

0:20:110:20:13

-Doesn't look like it's overweight, does it?

-No.

0:20:130:20:16

-Have you applied to be a collector?

-Stockport and Tameside.

-Smashing.

0:20:160:20:21

'Obviously we're still in the phase of issuing licences and whatnot

0:20:230:20:27

'so he's not been issued with his licence'

0:20:270:20:29

yet but his application is in the process of going through.

0:20:290:20:32

So we're going to take his vehicle in any way.

0:20:320:20:35

Make sure his vehicle is suitable

0:20:350:20:37

and we can check all his documents back at the depot.

0:20:370:20:40

As all scrap metal dealers move heavy

0:20:420:20:44

and potentially dangerous material, it's essential their vehicles

0:20:440:20:48

are roadworthy in accordance with the Road Traffic Act.

0:20:480:20:51

Put your indicator on this way.

0:20:510:20:53

If not their vehicle licence could be revoked.

0:20:550:20:58

Put your full lock on this way.

0:20:580:21:00

There's no real issues with it.

0:21:050:21:07

Looks like the vehicle is in good working order.

0:21:070:21:10

HMRC have dip sampled their fuel tank to make sure they're not using

0:21:100:21:13

illegal fuel.

0:21:130:21:15

There's a couple of outstanding things on their application

0:21:150:21:18

they need to provide as part of the legislation.

0:21:180:21:20

Once they do that we can issue them with their licence.

0:21:200:21:23

David is happy that this merchant is aware of the new regulations

0:21:230:21:27

and has applied for a new licence, so he's able get back to work.

0:21:270:21:31

The legitimate operators have been pretty good about it.

0:21:320:21:35

They can see that we have some additional enforcement powers

0:21:350:21:39

to deal with the unlicensed operators.

0:21:390:21:42

So if you're a legitimate operator

0:21:420:21:44

and you pay all your operating fees and your business rates and two

0:21:440:21:47

doors down from you is an unlicensed operator who isn't paying

0:21:470:21:50

any of that and can undercut you, they're happy that we have

0:21:500:21:54

the powers to deal with that unlicensed operator.

0:21:540:21:57

Close them down and stop them from operating again

0:21:570:21:59

and it protects their business.

0:21:590:22:02

Still to come, the operation widens its net as the licensing

0:22:020:22:06

team spot other potentially hazardous loads

0:22:060:22:08

that could be putting other road users at risk.

0:22:080:22:12

It's possible we're looking at a ban

0:22:120:22:14

if he's already got any points on his licence.

0:22:140:22:17

From nationwide operations clamping down on rogue traders,

0:22:220:22:26

-to stamping out noise and light pollution...

-Who's next, please?

0:22:260:22:30

..our local council officers will do everything in their power to

0:22:300:22:33

give us the best service they can, including helping us

0:22:330:22:37

get a good nights sleep.

0:22:370:22:38

Environmental Services Officer Phil Rogers is responding to

0:22:470:22:50

a call to the council from resident Sheila Hardy, who says she's

0:22:500:22:54

having trouble sleeping because of the noise from a nearby mill.

0:22:540:22:59

The noise was very bad last night. Like a 'zzzz,' you know,

0:22:590:23:03

a zedding noise like that. It's there all the time.

0:23:030:23:06

On his last visit, Phil installed recording equipment to track

0:23:090:23:12

the level of any noise.

0:23:120:23:14

-Hello, Mr Hardy.

-Good morning.

0:23:140:23:17

Oh, something smells good.

0:23:170:23:19

Oh, it does.

0:23:190:23:21

I wanted to ask how it's been since I put it in on Wednesday?

0:23:210:23:25

-They were very bad last night.

-Were they?

0:23:250:23:28

I think I heard it quite a few times. It was quite bad last night.

0:23:280:23:32

I'll take it away and listen to the recordings and look at the levels.

0:23:320:23:35

-As far as you're aware nothing's changed?

-Nothing's changed.

0:23:350:23:38

Sheila is hoping the equipment has captured the noise from the nearby

0:23:410:23:44

mill, which she claims has been keeping her awake for over six months.

0:23:440:23:48

Yep, green light tells me everything's recording all right.

0:23:520:23:55

Recording levels seem to be OK.

0:23:550:23:57

So do you think you'll have enough on there...?

0:23:570:23:59

To examine. We'll have a look and see what we've got

0:23:590:24:02

-It's so peaceful now I can...

-You really notice a difference?

0:24:050:24:09

That's how it should be all the time, I'm sure.

0:24:090:24:12

Would you say the recordings you made are typical of the noises

0:24:130:24:17

that keep you awake?

0:24:170:24:18

-Yeah.

-Absolutely.

-That's absolutely correct.

0:24:180:24:21

OK.

0:24:210:24:22

Phil heads back to council HQ to review the recording.

0:24:260:24:30

Alongside the level of the noise, Phil must consider a number of other

0:24:310:24:35

factors including the frequency and type of hum that's being created.

0:24:350:24:39

That's noise within the room.

0:24:390:24:41

It's generally accepted that any sounds

0:24:410:24:44

consistently reaching above

0:24:440:24:46

45 decibels can be classed as a nuisance.

0:24:460:24:49

That's nine o'clock at night.

0:24:490:24:52

There's a recording here, so we'll see if we can hear anything.

0:24:520:24:56

A single tone at that level. Something like hoovering.

0:24:570:25:02

I can't say what Mrs Hardy hears.

0:25:020:25:05

And I can only go off the levels she records when she's being disturbed.

0:25:070:25:11

You can hear an aircraft in the distance.

0:25:140:25:16

If it was of a level that satisfies such a nuisance then

0:25:160:25:19

I would intervene and cause the factory owner to do something

0:25:190:25:22

to annul those noises at night.

0:25:220:25:24

You can actually hear her going downstairs.

0:25:270:25:29

And we're down to 20db, which is really quite low.

0:25:330:25:36

There's been lots

0:25:400:25:42

and lots of research done by the World Health Organisation,

0:25:420:25:45

in particular, in relation to

0:25:450:25:47

what kind of sound levels at night keep people awake.

0:25:470:25:50

Anything below 30 is not going to wake anybody up.

0:25:500:25:53

So far Phil hasn't found anything that would legally constitute

0:25:540:25:58

a noise nuisance.

0:25:580:25:59

I can hear what I think it is she's trying to identify on that

0:26:020:26:04

particular one if that's what it is.

0:26:040:26:06

It's a pulsing noise.

0:26:070:26:09

But it's not very loud.

0:26:130:26:15

I doubt very much it would constitute being a statutory nuisance.

0:26:150:26:20

So we're left with contacting the company now and see

0:26:210:26:26

if there's any likelihood there's any nuisance there.

0:26:260:26:29

This leaves Phil with a dilemma.

0:26:340:26:36

Legally, he's unable to take any action against the mill.

0:26:360:26:40

His challenge now is to find another way to resolve the problem

0:26:400:26:44

and help Sheila get a good night's sleep.

0:26:440:26:46

From keeping our homes havens of peace and quiet,

0:27:020:27:05

to ensuring our streets are safely lit,

0:27:050:27:08

council officers across the UK are always looking for bright

0:27:080:27:11

ideas to save money that could be spent on other essential services.

0:27:110:27:15

Across the UK our seven million streetlights clock up an electricity

0:27:180:27:23

bill of more than £300 million each year and can account for as

0:27:230:27:27

much as 30% of a local authority's energy consumption.

0:27:270:27:31

Although this is one of our council's biggest single costs,

0:27:320:27:36

fewer than one million of the

0:27:360:27:37

country's street lamps are low energy.

0:27:370:27:40

In order to switch to LED lamps, the authorities will have to make

0:27:410:27:45

an initial investment

0:27:450:27:46

but that should be paid off in just five years,

0:27:460:27:49

as the LEDs could reduce an authority's electricity bill by up

0:27:490:27:52

to 80%, potentially saving the country up to £240 million a year.

0:27:520:28:00

Tameside Council has made the bold decision to trial the energy

0:28:080:28:12

saving lamps and it's the job of street lighting electrician

0:28:120:28:15

Simon Croot, to start changing over 120

0:28:150:28:19

of the borough's 25,000 lamps.

0:28:190:28:22

Do I know much about light bulbs?

0:28:240:28:26

I know the different flavours, yeah. You've got low pressure sodium.

0:28:260:28:30

Then the next flavour would be 90-watt.

0:28:310:28:33

And that would be used on side streets and housing estates.

0:28:330:28:37

Then you have the 135-watt for the really big long ones,

0:28:370:28:39

about that long.

0:28:390:28:40

They do go bigger than that, up to 1,000-watt but we don't use those.

0:28:400:28:44

Fitting these lamps for the first time makes this an exciting

0:28:450:28:48

day for Simon.

0:28:480:28:50

We're taking some old high pressure sodium lamps off

0:28:500:28:53

and we're going to fix some LED lanterns on the same columns.

0:28:530:28:58

It's a trial with a view to rolling it out over the borough in the future.

0:28:590:29:03

So this is a little bit of a test, really.

0:29:030:29:06

A normal high pressure sodium bulb,

0:29:090:29:11

for these type of street lights, will only last around four years.

0:29:110:29:16

The new LED bulbs can last over 20 years and means

0:29:160:29:19

that the council can spend less time and money maintaining them.

0:29:190:29:23

And that's not all.

0:29:230:29:24

Normal street lights burning at 90 watts.

0:29:260:29:30

We're going to put up nine LED lanterns today.

0:29:300:29:33

Burn wattage of 36 watts as opposed to 90 watts.

0:29:330:29:36

Saving 50 watts of energy per lantern per hour.

0:29:370:29:43

So it's quite a large saving for the authority.

0:29:430:29:46

That's it. We're here.

0:29:470:29:49

Then we crank it over.

0:29:520:29:53

Simon has located his first street lamp of the day.

0:29:560:29:59

Lamp's in there. Classic 70-watt small side street one.

0:30:030:30:06

Because the new lantern heads use less power

0:30:080:30:11

they also help to reduce the UK's carbon footprint.

0:30:110:30:13

Right. Want to have a guided tour around this fancy new one?

0:30:180:30:21

This is a completely different flavour of light, this.

0:30:210:30:24

We've not had one of these before in Tameside.

0:30:240:30:26

According to our engineer they're the best thing since sliced bread

0:30:260:30:29

and I have to agree with him.

0:30:290:30:30

This is the first one I've seen of these.

0:30:300:30:32

These are the LED driver units. Good bit of kit.

0:30:320:30:34

That's that wired up.

0:30:440:30:45

-The moment of truth.

-Charlie puts the fuse in there now.

0:30:460:30:50

Your lantern's now lit. That's our new flavour of LED.

0:30:520:30:54

That's the first one in Tameside.

0:30:540:30:56

A proud moment for a street lighting electrician.

0:30:560:30:59

One down, eight to go.

0:31:040:31:05

Thanks to the local council heroes making the brave move to

0:31:080:31:12

invest in LED lighting, the future is looking bright for Tameside.

0:31:120:31:16

The financial savings made by using the new bulbs

0:31:180:31:21

will benefit the whole community.

0:31:210:31:23

Alongside supporting change on a national scale,

0:31:390:31:43

councils also pride themselves on dealing with issues at ground

0:31:430:31:46

level, no matter how big or small.

0:31:460:31:48

For Tameside's animal warden Ian Millet, that means

0:31:510:31:54

caring for the borough's abandoned and mistreated pets.

0:31:540:31:58

Today he's returning to the local vets to check up on

0:31:590:32:03

a neglected dog, suffering with a serious skin condition.

0:32:030:32:07

I don't want to do this to you.

0:32:070:32:09

If the dog's health hasn't improved, it could be put down.

0:32:090:32:12

I don't think people, when they get the dog, realise the work involved.

0:32:140:32:19

It is like having another child in the house.

0:32:190:32:23

Ian is desperate to find out if the dog's skin condition is treatable.

0:32:230:32:28

If not, it faces a bleak future.

0:32:280:32:30

-What is it? Did he say?

-Demodex.

-Is it?

-Yeah.

0:32:310:32:36

Demodex, commonly known as mange,

0:32:370:32:39

is an infestation of mites in an animal's skin.

0:32:390:32:43

The mites live and feed off hair follicles and oil glands, causing

0:32:430:32:47

intense irritation, which is made significantly worse by scratching.

0:32:470:32:52

DOG BARKS

0:32:520:32:53

Hello!

0:32:530:32:54

If infections take hold in the open wounds it can be fatal.

0:32:560:33:00

But demodex responds well to medication,

0:33:000:33:03

and in just 24 hours there's a marked improvement,

0:33:030:33:06

saving the dog from the threat of being put down.

0:33:060:33:10

Are you coming with me? I reckon he's not even two years old.

0:33:100:33:13

Big black eyes. Yeah.

0:33:150:33:18

And while it's still wary of unfamiliar surroundings,

0:33:180:33:21

it's well enough to be taken to the Dogs' Home

0:33:210:33:24

where it will be cared for until it can be rehomed.

0:33:240:33:27

He's looking a lot better today now he's had a bit of treatment.

0:33:280:33:31

And he seems to be calming down as well.

0:33:310:33:34

I hope when I say that I'm not going to get bit now.

0:33:340:33:37

This is the hard part.

0:33:370:33:38

Come on.

0:33:400:33:41

But all this could have been prevented had the dog been

0:33:410:33:44

looked after properly by its owners.

0:33:440:33:46

I absolutely love dogs. I hate how some people treat dogs.

0:33:480:33:52

After being abandoned on the streets, a call to the

0:33:550:33:58

council from a concerned resident has enabled Ian to get this

0:33:580:34:02

young dog treated and keep him safe from further harm.

0:34:020:34:04

Come on, you. A little bit nervous, aren't you?

0:34:060:34:10

I love my job. People would kill for my job.

0:34:140:34:17

Dealing with all these animals and everything like that.

0:34:170:34:19

I still want to win the lottery and buy a big house in the country

0:34:190:34:22

and take them all home.

0:34:220:34:23

But it's just one of them dreams, isn't it?

0:34:230:34:25

If you find an animal that's been abandoned,

0:34:260:34:29

mistreated or is being aggressive call your council to

0:34:290:34:32

ensure that they are handled professionally and safely.

0:34:320:34:36

This work is just another example of the ways our councils help

0:34:360:34:39

residents both great and small.

0:34:390:34:41

Back at council HQ, Environmental Services officer Phil Rogers

0:34:540:34:58

has been working hard to bring an end to the sleepless nights

0:34:580:35:02

suffered by one resident

0:35:020:35:03

that she believes are being caused by a relentless hum near her home.

0:35:030:35:08

Although recordings of a neighbouring mill showed no evidence

0:35:080:35:11

of a noise level that constituted a legal nuisance, Phil is determined

0:35:110:35:15

to find a resolution for Sheila Hardy, and he's had a break through.

0:35:150:35:18

We have spoken to one of the managers at the factory.

0:35:190:35:24

He voluntarily agreed to undertake some processes to try

0:35:240:35:27

and eliminate any noise that would possibly be a nuisance.

0:35:270:35:31

A lot of the windows in the factory get broken

0:35:310:35:33

so we undertook to make sure all those windows were blocked

0:35:330:35:36

so that any sound escaping from those windows was abated.

0:35:360:35:42

He also undertook to put some extra lagging on some

0:35:420:35:44

of the machinery in order to dull any noise that was coming off them.

0:35:440:35:48

And he did all those things.

0:35:480:35:50

We've done absolutely everything we could do to satisfy

0:35:500:35:53

Mrs Hardy's complaint.

0:35:530:35:54

Thanks to Phil's efforts and the compliance of the mill owner,

0:35:580:36:01

Phil's found a solution to Sheila's sleeplessness.

0:36:010:36:04

And she's already feeling the benefits of his negotiations.

0:36:040:36:07

I personally think one of the machines needed a part

0:36:090:36:12

replacing and they've solved it now.

0:36:120:36:14

They fixed the machine, fixed the windows and everything

0:36:150:36:19

and it's sorted.

0:36:190:36:21

I wouldn't have been getting onto the environmental

0:36:220:36:25

if I wasn't being kept awake at night.

0:36:250:36:28

If you're not sleeping at night, you're not sleeping at night so...

0:36:290:36:32

I'm quite happy now.

0:36:320:36:35

It's solved and I'm sleeping in an evening and I'm happy with that.

0:36:350:36:38

It's a good result for this local council hero who's gone

0:36:420:36:45

out of his way to help a resident in need.

0:36:450:36:47

Sometimes we get some intransigent business owners

0:36:480:36:51

and sometimes we don't. On this occasion they were quite helpful.

0:36:510:36:55

And voluntarily offered to do some work, undertake some processes

0:36:550:36:59

that were likely to quieten whatever noise was being produced.

0:36:590:37:04

I'm quite pleased and it resolved

0:37:040:37:06

the situation to everybody's satisfaction.

0:37:060:37:08

Another example of the pro-active work being done by our council

0:37:170:37:21

officers is the initiative being adopted by licensing teams

0:37:210:37:25

up and down the country

0:37:250:37:26

to enforce new regulations to crack down on metal theft.

0:37:260:37:30

In Tameside, Operation Alloy is seeing the council's

0:37:320:37:36

licensing team join forces with the police and vehicle agencies.

0:37:360:37:40

They're spot-checking traders carrying scrap,

0:37:400:37:42

to ensure they're adhering to the new Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 2013.

0:37:420:37:47

Apparently he's put the scrap metal in the back to take

0:37:510:37:53

it for a ride around the block and he's taking it home again.

0:37:530:37:56

So we will deal with that appropriately.

0:37:560:37:58

Not all traders agree that the new licenses,

0:37:580:38:00

that cost upwards of £300 to obtain, are necessary.

0:38:000:38:04

I'm not happy about these new licences.

0:38:040:38:06

-I think it's a load of

-BLEEP.

0:38:060:38:08

I think it's robbing us proper.

0:38:080:38:10

Carrying out an operation of this scale allows the team to spot

0:38:110:38:14

check any other commercial vehicles that they think could be

0:38:140:38:17

posing a risk to road users.

0:38:170:38:19

Having spotted a pick-up truck carrying a large

0:38:210:38:24

consignment of heavy paving stones, police officers have brought

0:38:240:38:28

the driver in to check the roadworthiness of the vehicle.

0:38:280:38:31

I'm 3/4 of a tonne over weight.

0:38:320:38:34

-And a nice fine.

-He's being prosecuted for being overweight.

0:38:380:38:42

He's going to get three points and a fixed penalty notice.

0:38:420:38:45

He's looking at a ban if he has any points on his licence.

0:38:450:38:48

And there's going to be a recovery fee of a couple hundred quid

0:38:480:38:51

to get the vehicle back.

0:38:510:38:52

So not a good day at the office for this guy.

0:38:540:38:56

Just getting rid of our rubbish.

0:38:570:38:59

Out of the back garden.

0:38:590:39:00

It wouldn't be safe to allow it to drive out of here.

0:39:000:39:03

So it's on a recovery truck and back to the police compound.

0:39:030:39:06

Even though this truck isn't trading scrap,

0:39:060:39:09

officers are compelled to act.

0:39:090:39:11

And the result is another dangerous vehicle off Tameside's streets.

0:39:110:39:15

Hop out. Hop out.

0:39:150:39:17

-Could you not feel it?

-No.

0:39:180:39:20

The latest trader to be stopped is a builder,

0:39:200:39:22

whose van might be exceeding its acceptable weight.

0:39:220:39:26

A lot of the time this is what we get, the builder's van type vehicles.

0:39:260:39:29

It's not always the obvious pick-up full of scrap metal.

0:39:290:39:31

Until you get these in and have a look,

0:39:330:39:35

you don't know what they're doing.

0:39:350:39:37

You see how low down it is on the suspension and the tyres?

0:39:380:39:42

If he's not been weighed then we'll do that.

0:39:420:39:45

I nipped off the job to get some materials

0:39:450:39:47

so they'll be wondering where I am.

0:39:470:39:50

Overloading a vehicle puts undue pressure on its shock absorbers

0:39:500:39:53

and brakes.

0:39:530:39:55

It's a problem all too familiar to head engineer Dave.

0:39:550:39:58

Compensator valve.

0:40:000:40:02

Which adjusts the brakes' weight to the rear of the vehicle.

0:40:020:40:08

-That was under.

-Show you the defects right now.

0:40:100:40:13

It's all underneath so it's not something I was aware of.

0:40:140:40:18

If I was aware of it, I would have had it fixed.

0:40:180:40:22

If that goes off road today, I cease work.

0:40:220:40:25

Every vehicle has a legally acceptable weight,

0:40:280:40:31

which for this van is 2,205 kilograms.

0:40:310:40:36

Dave checks the weight

0:40:360:40:37

and the effect it's having on the van's braking system.

0:40:370:40:40

It's actually just in.

0:40:430:40:47

The limit is 2,205 and he's 2,128.

0:40:470:40:52

The axel weights are both 1,230. So it's fine.

0:40:520:40:59

The weights were all good, brakes were all good.

0:41:000:41:02

I think being here and working in this environment,

0:41:020:41:05

you have a much more balanced approach to enforcement.

0:41:050:41:08

We'll do a prosecution if we think it's necessary

0:41:080:41:11

but we have such a wide range of enforcement options open to us

0:41:110:41:15

and compliance options open to us, as well.

0:41:150:41:18

A lot of the time it's about helping people in businesses

0:41:180:41:22

operate legally. We offer so much support.

0:41:220:41:25

Most of the work we do is supporting businesses.

0:41:250:41:27

Got some defects they're taking it off road for the moment for.

0:41:290:41:33

Got to get a tow truck to take it to the garage to have the defects done.

0:41:340:41:37

Then it's back on the road again.

0:41:370:41:39

Been really good, excellent day. It's been a real mixed bag.

0:41:400:41:44

A lot more variety than we normally deal with.

0:41:440:41:46

To have the police here and seize uninsured vehicles

0:41:480:41:51

and get dangerous drivers off the road has been really good.

0:41:510:41:54

What's been good from the scrap metal perspective is we've had

0:41:540:41:57

a few of them in, all of them bar one have been correctly licensed.

0:41:570:42:02

Vehicles haven't been in particularly bad condition.

0:42:020:42:06

Back to base for debrief and cocktails.

0:42:060:42:08

Like their council colleagues nationwide, it's been another

0:42:210:42:24

successful shift for these heroic officers. They've saved

0:42:240:42:28

taxpayers thousands of pounds by introducing energy efficient

0:42:280:42:31

lighting to the borough.

0:42:310:42:33

We're going to put up nine LED

0:42:330:42:35

lanterns today. Wattage of 36 as opposed to 90 Watts.

0:42:350:42:39

Helped a resident get a peaceful night's sleep,

0:42:410:42:44

after negotiating with the bosses of a neighbouring mill.

0:42:440:42:47

Quite happy it's solved and I'm sleeping in an evening.

0:42:490:42:53

I'm happy with that.

0:42:530:42:55

And removed several hazardous trade vehicles from the road.

0:42:550:42:59

It's possible we're looking at a ban if he has any points on his licence.

0:42:590:43:02

But most importantly, they've worked tirelessly

0:43:030:43:06

to help their residents when they called the council.

0:43:060:43:09

Council officers stage a crackdown on rogue scrap metal traders, come to the assistance of a resident who calls the council for help with a noisy neighbouring mill and begin the unenviable task of fitting LED bulbs to the borough's many streetlamps.


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