Waltham Forest launches Twitter chatbot for fly-tipping reports

Residents of London borough offered new channel to contact council about environmental issues

Credit: Waltham Forest Council/Twitter

Waltham Forest Council has launched a Twitter chatbot for citizens to file reports of fly-tipping and other environmental incidents.

Using the social network’s direct-message service, Twitter users who live in the east London borough can contact the @WFTellWalt account (pictured above) to report various problems or infractions. 

The automated tool begins by asking users if they wish to file a new report of track the progress of one they have previously made.

When filing a new report, users are given various options to describe the type of incident in question, including fly-tipping, fly-posting, dog fouling, or a dirty front garden. The bot then, with the user’s permission, redirects them to a map, where they can find and mark the location of the transgression. The tool also provides the option to verbally describe where the waste is located, and to provide pictures. 

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Users reporting a fly-tipping incident are then given a list of options – including furniture, builders’ waste, and electrical items – to characterise the type of rubbish that has been left. They are asked if they are able and willing to provide details of the people responsible for dumping the waste and, finally, if they want the bot to send automated updates of the progress of the report. 

Once the report has been submitted, the bot provides a reference number, which can be used to track developments in the case online.

Waltham Forest Council deputy leader Clyde Loakes said: “It only takes three minutes on your phone or tablet to submit a report – then you can enjoy the day knowing that the council’s team are on the case. Our priority is to keep the streets of Waltham Forest clean and green. This innovative new Twitter channel means we can work even more efficiently for the benefit of our residents.”

The Twitter tool follows the launch of a chatbot for the council’s Facebook page that has processed almost 500 fly-tipping reports since it launched in March.  Citizens can also report incidents on Waltham Forest’s website.

Sam Trendall

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