There seems to be an increase in the amount of litter around at the moment, cluttering and damaging our wonderful landscapes and countryside. I witness the evidence myself when I go walking in the Mendip Hills. And on returning home, I see debates unfold on social media.
Since Covid, a new type of waste has been appearing amongst the usual rubbish. We are increasingly seeing masks, gloves and other PPE littering the streets, roadsides and countryside, which is such a shame. Just when we were getting on top of the plastic carrier bag problem too.
At Mendip, despite pressures placed on your Council to respond to the medical emergency, we’re cleaning up after fly-tippers across the district, within two working days of it being reported. As well as looking awful, the aim is to limit the environmental impact of the rubbish wherever possible. In January, the Council dealt with over 146 fly-tipping collections from public land, weighing in at just over 67 tonnes!
You can help by contacting us as soon as you spot a problem: www.mendip.gov.uk/streetclean. (Please note, the Council does not clear dumped rubbish or litter from private land. This is the responsibility of the landowner/tenant).
The Council also carries out litter picking services. We’ve just completed a litter pick project across the whole of the Mendip Hills AONB. That’s an area of 9.7 miles, hand-picked and cleared. Another has been coordinated along the Wells bypass, a total of 3.6 miles. Village locations have also been targeted and are underway.
Next up will be the A361, and all laybys and roadways between Glastonbury and Beckington – some 53.6 miles! As you can imagine, a project of this size will take a number of weeks.
The Council has two street sweepers working daily in the district. One focuses on the main town centres, and the other manages rural and lower intensity areas. Together they total 100 hours of street sweeping each week. Some 440 miles of roads were swept in January, collecting over 210 tonnes of debris and waste.
Our current focus is supporting the roll-out of Covid vaccinations and saving lives, but we are still committed to ridding our environment of rubbish. It’s a constant battle and we’ve pledged it in our Corporate Plan: “We will encourage communities to take action to keep neighbourhoods clean, such as litter picks, and strengthen our approach to enforcement to ensure a high quality built environment, and we’ll tackle environmental crime and fly tipping.” www.mendip.gov.uk/corporateplan
The Council works with the Keep Britain Tidy organisation to determine how we can support its campaigns, including the Great British Spring Clean: www.keepbritaintidy.org. Look at the good work our friends at the countryside charity CPRE are doing on this too: www.cpre.org.uk/news/
I hope you are all keeping well – please do get in touch with me if you have any questions. I can be contacted either through my Facebook page, @Ros.Wyke, or via email: [email protected]
Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council
Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: [email protected].