Stop the rot!

THE Comet is launching a campaign to spruce up the streets and stop litter blighting the area, and readers are being asked to back the bid. Litter louts are costing each taxpayer up to �46 every year, so the rot has got to stop. Each year Stevenage Boroug

THE Comet is launching a campaign to spruce up the streets and stop litter blighting the area, and readers are being asked to back the bid.

Litter louts are costing each taxpayer up to �46 every year, so the rot has got to stop.

Each year Stevenage Borough Council spends about �1.6 million on street cleaning - that's �46.03 per taxpayer - and clears up around 2,480 tonnes of litter.

Last year, North Herts District Council spent �740,000 - that's �13.65 per taxpayer - and picked up 1,500 tonnes of litter from the streets.

Sharon Taylor, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said: "If we didn't have to pick up litter, there would have been no council tax increase this year."

So, as well as improving the environment, The Comet's campaign could also help keep money in your pocket.

Most Read

AS part of our campaign, North Herts District Council has organised a litter pick on the A602 Wymondley Bypass on April 18 and 19, and on the A505 - Hitchin through to Luton - from April 20 to 24.

There are six voluntary groups in North Herts which look after various green areas in Comet country, and they are always looking for more volunteers.

Friends of Oughtonhead Common have organised a litter pick from the river on April 6. Email phil.lumley@hertscc.gov.uk for more information.

The other groups are:

- Friends of Norton Common, contact Barbara Crombie at bcrombie16@aol.com

- Friends of Howard Park, call David Young on 07890162219 or email him at david.young463@ntlworld.com

- Friends of Walsworth Common, email derek.turner@hertscc.gov.uk

- Friends of Weston Hills, Baldock, and Ivel Springs, Baldock, call Phil Charsley on 01462 895665 or 07817801616 or email him at phil.charsley@tiscali.co.uk

Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) has responded to residents' concerns about litter issues by running the Make Stevenage Sparkle campaign.

The campaign works in partnership with residents, community groups, schools and businesses and aims to encourage people to help make the town litter free.

Stevenage's Street Smart team has also been sprucing up the town, acting on 9,545 reports from members of the public from May 1 to December 31, 2008. Reports included issues such as rubbish, street cleaning and loose recycling.

Cllr John Gardner, deputy leader of SBC, said: "We spend a lot of council tax payers' money picking up and clearing litter that should not be dropped or dumped in the first place.

"We want to have a balanced approach which encourages people to act responsibly and only takes appropriate action against those people who will not.

"This campaign is aimed at making people aware not only of the real costs of litter but also of how much nicer our town centre, neighbourhoods and parks can be if we all just bin our litter and not drop it."

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it is a criminal offence to drop litter or throw litter from a vehicle onto public land.

Local authorities and police community support officers have the power to issue fixed penalty notices, of between �50 and �80, to litter louts.

The offender is given 14 days in which to pay the fine. If it is not paid, the offender can be prosecuted and, if convicted, could be liable to a maximum fine of �2,500.

To contact Street Smart, text 60066, or if you can provide a photograph or video of the problem, send it to 07786 203 993 along with your message. You can also report litter issues by calling the switchboard on 01438 242242.

To report an incident in North Herts, visit www.north-herts.gov.uk, click on 'report it' and follow the link.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter