Since the launch of the 'Against Litter' campaign in October of last year, the amount of litter penalty notices issued has significantly dropped. Cleaning operatives have also noticed a reduction in the amount of litter they are collecting. And, 124 areas of the district have been adopted by residents, groups and businesses within the first month of the launch of the 'adopt an area' scheme.

Cllr Roger Barrow, Cabinet Member for Resident Services has been working closely with Cllr John Connor, Cabinet Member for Environment Services to drive the campaign forward.

"We have been overwhelmed with the response that we have had from residents, businesses, community groups and the local media since the launch of our campaign. We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported it, especially those who have signed up to adopt an area" says Roger.

"We have launched this campaign in direct response to the feedback that we have received from our local communities. People don't want to see our beautiful district ruined by a small minority of people. They want us to take action to protect our environment. We've done this by introducing litter enforcement officers; increasing awareness of the importance of keeping our district clean and beautiful; and encouraging the community to get involved in protecting our district. We are really pleased that the amount of litter penalty notices issued has reduced so significantly. We are aware that this could rise over the summer months, when we will see an increase in the amount of visitors to the area, but as things stand the situation is looking very positive. I've also been contacted by residents who have said that since we have introduced road signs warning people that they could be fined, they have seen a reduction in the amount of litter in their areas. So, this really is great news!"

The council launched the first stage of the 'Against Litter' campaign last October to coincide with the introduction of a litter enforcement trial, which has been funded by the fines issued. Those who don't pay will be taken to court. To date, 17 people have each been fined £265 by the courts. New powers have also been introduced to fine those caught throwing litter from their car. If this is carried out by a passenger, the registered keeper of the car will be fined.

The council has also highlighted that £1 million is spent every year keeping the district's streets clean and that if people didn't drop litter, fly tip, or leave behind their dog's mess, some of this money could be spent on other more important services.

More recently, the council has launched its 'adopt an area' scheme, which has already been a huge success,

"We have been so pleased with the response we've had from everyone. Over 124 areas have already been adopted and this is number is increasing each week. We have so many community heroes who are making a huge difference within their local neighbourhoods and we want to build on this," says Roger.

"We're asking people to 'adopt an area'. This could be a road, village, green space, shop frontage, or area. As part of their pledge they will encourage others to take pride in their local area; report any problems to us, such as fly tipping, extensive littering or continuous issues of dog fouling; and help to keep the area clean by getting involved in, or organising, community clear ups.

"This scheme is not about asking people to do our job for us. Instead, we are asking for their support and to be our eyes and ears in their local community. We look after one of the largest districts in the country - covering a total of 303 square miles. By working with us, we will be better able to respond to the issues facing our district. We want as many people to get involved as possible by signing up online or calling 01243 785166," adds Roger.

The council is also currently developing a 'green dog walkers' scheme, which it hopes to launch in July. This is a national scheme that aims to help reduce dog fouling and promote responsible dog ownership. This will be the third part of the campaign, with future stages focusing on fly tipping and raising awareness of the rules on waste disposal.

The council has set up an 'Against Litter' section on its website and an area where people can sign up to 'adopt an area'. Residents and businesses that sign up to 'adopt an area' will receive a special pack with advice, tips and information on the support that they will receive.

"If people want to organise a litter pick, we will provide all of the equipment they need and will arrange to pick up the rubbish at a convenient location for the individual or group. This really is about working together.

"We have so much more planned in the coming months, including launching a scheme to help tackle dog fouling in the summer and trialling some new technology to make our service even more efficient. The key to the success of this campaign is about working with our local communities and encouraging them to help us to keep our district looking beautiful," says Roger.

Date of release: 18 June 2018

Reference: 3812