UPDATE; Please note, that with the severe weather forecast for this week, Keep Britain Tidy has issued a warning to all participants advising them to consider their safety first (http://www.keepbritaintidy.org/important-message-stay-safe-spring-clean) and to not go ahead with the event if there is a risk to participants’ safety. If you are planning to attend an event, please check with the organiser to see if it still going ahead. It is possible that some events may be postponed until another weekend.
Community groups across the country are joining forces over the weekend of 2nd to 4th March to make our country a nicer place to live, by taking part in the annual national Great British Spring Clean, organised by Keep Britain Tidy.
In Bath and North East Somerset, there’s even a boat that’s been hired to help clear up the River Avon and volunteers are being encouraged to come along and take part.
Seven groups have already applied to Bath & North East Somerset Council for support for the event, which runs from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th March. The Council is helping volunteer groups by providing litter picking equipment (including, gloves, litter pickers, hi-visibility clothing and rubbish bags) and clearing the bags from designated places.
Across Bath and North East Somerset, volunteers will be litter picking areas including Keynsham, Westfield, Wellow and areas of Bath such as Twerton, Westmoreland, Widcombe and the River Avon.
This is the first time a boat has been used to help with the litter picks, along with a fully trained volunteer crew, whilst other people join in on foot. Volunteers are being encouraged to sign up and take part by going to www.raclp.eventbrite.co.uk. There will be two clean up shifts (10am-11.30am and 12.30pm-2pm) on Saturday 3rd March, meeting at the Pontoon at the rear of Bath Train Station. The team are aiming to recycle as much as they can.
Guy Hodgson, one of the volunteers taking part, said: “This event is a great way of tackling river and ocean pollution. For a lasting improvement, we urgently need action from central government to deliver a comprehensive deposit returns scheme for drinks containers which rewards good behaviour.”
In the last 5 years, Bath & North East Somerset Council has cleared up over 4,000 tonnes of litter every year. The litter picks will improve our neighbourhoods for everyone to enjoy. They will make the place cleaner and tidier and reduce the hazards to people and animals caused by litter such as plastic.
Cllr Bob Goodman (Conservative, Combe Down), Cabinet Member for Development & Neighbourhoods, said: “The Spring Clean is just one weekend, but the Council is keen to encourage groups to take part throughout the year, especially at times when demand for equipment is quieter.
“With concerns about the impact of plastic increasing throughout the country, especially as a result of programmes such as the Blue Planet, this is a great way to do your bit and help to protect our environment from the damage caused by carelessly discarded litter. Everyone can do their bit to help reduce the problem of littering; make sure you throw your rubbish in a litter bin or take it home with you, join a local group or set one up, or pick up litter when you’re out and about, providing it’s safe to do so.”
Another group taking part is the Keynsham Wombles, who hold regular litter picks throughout the year – last year they even used abseilers to help litter pick parts of the park! This year they will be starting on foot from various points around Keynsham including Santander for the Memorial Park, the Train Station, Stoney Lane allotments, Dapps Hill Bridge and The Lock Keeper pub. The litter picks will run from 2pm-4pm, finishing with free tea and cakes at the Bowls Club in the park.
To find out more about how to organise a litter pick, please go to the Council’s website; www.bathnes.gov.uk/organisealitterpick. For more information on keeping your neighbourhood clean and tidy, you may wish to go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/friendsofourstreet for information and free downloadable materials.