A commitment to keep the streets of Merton clean has been made by the council in response to a petition.

In February this year, a full council meeting was presented with the petition calling for more regular street cleaning in the borough.

The local authority’s response was released on Wednesday (June 27), as part of its agenda for the next full council meeting due to take place next week.

Merton Council has faced criticism for litter on the streets since Veolia took over the street cleaning contract last April.

The response acknowledges that a street cleaning schedule has not been adhered to but said that improvements were being put in place, alongside ensuring the 570 litter bins in the borough are regularly emptied.

The petition on change.org, named ‘Campaign for weekly street cleaning in London Borough of Mucky Merton’, has gathered more than 1,200 signatures.

It states: “We pay significantly higher council tax bills than Wandsworth residents who benefit from reliable weekly street cleaning.

“We, the residents of Merton, demand a commitment to a fixed frequency of street cleaning, i.e. weekly or fortnightly rather than relying on residents reporting isolated cases of littering before actioning.”

In response, the council said it “fully appreciates” the importance of maintaining clean streets.

It added: “We note that a large proportion of the petition’s signatories were from outside the borough and we recognise that our street cleaning service is vitally important for visitors and businesses in the borough as well as for residents.

“It is of great concern that the signatories of the petition feel that the streets of Merton are below their expectations in terms of cleanliness.

“Our new contractor, Veolia, started to deliver the street cleaning service in April last year.

"The contract is not yet performing as we would expect and we are working hard to ensure that it does as quickly as possible.”

To address the problems, the council said it was holding meetings with Veolia and even withholding payments when cleanliness does not meet the standards required.

It added the introduction of wheelie bins in October was expected to help the situation.

The council is due to meet at Merton Civic Centre in Morden on Wednesday, July 4 from 7.15pm.