The main item of interest was a presentation by Myles Thornton from the Warwickshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England on the problem of litter, and their 'Stop the Drop' initiative to target this.
Some of the facts presented at the meeting highlighted just what a blight litter was and how much of a problem it had become:
- it costs local authorities more than £500 million a year to clear up litter;
- there has been a five-fold increase in the amount of litter dropped in the UK since the 1960s;
- an estimated 25 million tonnes of litter is dropped in public places every year (equivalent to the weight of 62,500 jumbo jets);
- in 2007, an estimated 69,000 animals were killed or injured by litter dropped in Britain;
- every weekend, 1.3 million pieces of rubbish are dropped on motorways and major truck roads across England - totalling 67.6 million items of litter ever year.
- fly-tipping cost councils across the country a further £74 million to clear up the 2.6 million instances where it occurred during 2007, yet there were only 1,800 successful prosecutions against the people doing the fly-tipping.
Frankly, I was staggered by these statistics, but we see the evidence for ourselves every day right on our doorsteps in Shilton and Barnacle.
In response to this national blight, the CPRE have launched their 'Stop the Drop' campaign which encourages local residents, supported by their parish council, to clear up their local neighbourhood on a regular basis.
There's a lot more detail to the scheme, and it's something I'd like the Shilton parish councillors to discuss to see what we can do to play our part. The next meeting of the parish council is next week (Tuesday 2 March), and I shall report back on those discussions in a future blog.
I know local people who already do take it upon themselves to pick up litter, and there are the annual village litter picks that get people involved too (Barnacle's is Saturday 28 March - put it in your diary!) If there can be a consistent, co-ordinated and long-term approach to keeping our own local streets and green areas clear of rubbish, then it'll be something we should take pride in, and hopefully motivate all of us to do our bit!
Watch this space for further news.