Council set to launch assault on littering

“TAKING pride in your surroundings” will be the mantra when a new initiative to put an end to littering once and for all is launched this year.

A civic pride campaign is currently being put together by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) with a view to a year-long war on people who drop litter and ruin rural surroundings.

Details are set to be finalised next week, but the Reporter has learnt that the council is aiming to target the people behind the litter and the attitudes to tidiness, rather than the litter itself.

UDC leader, Cllr Jim Ketteridge, said had a direct view of the problem when he was walking to a meeting at the council’s offices in London Road.

“I was walking across the Common and, after people had been lying about in the sun all day, it looked like a tip, litter was everywhere,” he explained.

“This [initiative] is about changing the culture in the district. Our refuse workers and the public already do a good job but we are not complacent.

“There is a growing problem with litter being thrown from moving vehicles; you only have to look at verges along the roads to see bottles and rubbish. If we don’t act now this problem will only get worse.”

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Cllr Ketterridge, who is taking an active role in the effort, criticised younger people for the litter problem.

He said: “Some of them think dropping litter is a ‘cool’ thing to do, and just toss it down when a bin is within arms’ reach.”

And, in a lukewarm response to Essex County Council’s effort to promote a forthcoming ‘love where you live week’ (starting on June 7), he said that although it should be welcomed, it did not go far enough.

“We do not want a week-long effort, we want a long-term effort – we can keep having clear ups every year, but it would be better to stop it altogether,” he added.

The clear up message will be rolled out to the entire district in the coming months, and is expected to last for around one year.

Parish councils will be notified and UDC is hoping that help will be forthcoming from them and other members in communities from Saffron Walden to Great Dunmow as the council looks to start a real cross-community effort.