Raft of measures to help tackle town's litter problem
- Credit: Courtesy of Sharon Taylor
An increasing problem with litter in Stevenage, which is currently costing taxpayers about £200,000 a year to tackle, is set to be addressed through a series of initiatives.
Stevenage Borough Council leader, Sharon Taylor, says she is shocked at people's willingness to blight some of the town's most attractive areas with rubbish.
Last week, she went litter-picking in Symonds Green with her sister, Laura, and Cllr Jackie Hollywell. She said: "The two areas we focused on were along Meadway Lane - a beautiful wooded walk which runs from The Fisherman pub, along behind Berwick Close to Brighton Way.
"It is shocking to me that, in such an area of natural beauty and biodiversity, some people chose to dump their rubbish."
As well as collecting enough litter to fill several sacks, the trio found a wardrobe door, fish tank, baby chair, toilet seat, clothes and a kitchen sink.
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Cllr Taylor said: "The council is supporting voluntary groups who have set up recently to collect litter, and we have long-standing green space volunteers who work hard to provide additional help to keep our lovely green spaces in Stevenage so we can all enjoy them.
"We are also launching an education and communication programme in the summer to get the message out that not only is littering anti-social, but it also costs council tax payers a great deal of money every year to pick it up - money which could be so much better spent on other things."
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CCTV cameras and enforcement will be used at some recycling banks in the town, where there is often large quantities of fly-tipping, and there are plans to involve young people through an artwork competition.
Cllr Taylor hopes the decision to increase the opening hours of the Household Waste Recycling Centre in Stevenage from five days a week to seven from May will see a reduction in fly-tipping, along with a pilot programme which increases flexibility for residents when it comes to household bulky waste collection.
A borough council spokesperson said: "We engage schools through the Stevenage Eco-schools Network and on an individual basis with schools across the town.
"Officers regularly attend assemblies, support schools with litter picking in and around their own grounds as well as nearby parks and open spaces.
"Children and young people have also helped previous campaigns through the design of artwork that we have then used for posters and freighter banners to help raise awareness.
"Unfortunately this activity has not been possible in the past 12 months, but we are looking to link with the play centres for some artwork to help coincide with this year's Great British Spring Clean."