Community groups are banding together to help combat Bristol’s growing litter problem.
82% of surveyed Bristolians said that litter was a problem in their area.
Areas like Nightingale Valley, one of Bristol’s ‘top ten best walks’, have been subjected to ‘litter picking parties’, ‘coppicing’, ‘wild Wednesdays’ and ‘bramble bashes’ organised by the ‘Friends of Brislington Brook’, chaired by Brislington resident Julian Thomas:
“We have plenty of tools, we just need people to use them,”
“It’s lovely to stop and socialise with everyone in such a tranquil setting,”
“We are victims of our own success though as there isn’t as much litter to pick these days.”
Though not perfect, the marked improvement of areas like St. Anne’s Wood, Victory Park and Troopers Hill have not gone unnoticed by organisers of this years ‘Great Bristol Spring Clean’.
Bristol Waste’s Community Engagement Officer Ed Troughton was quick to praise the community driven efforts:
“It’s certainly a positive step,”
“We support people doing it and we provide the kit,”
“We can take the rubbish away and we also make a record of that so we can work with the council and let them know just how many people there are in the city who volunteer their time.”
Managing Director of Bristol Waste, Tracey Morgan said:
“We want to help all individuals and groups, however large or small, to improve the look and feel of their local areas,”
“We’ll do this by providing guidance, materials and equipment as well as celebrating the great work being done in each Bristol neighbourhood,”
“Supporting this campaign could be as simple as pledging to pick up one piece of rubbish a day or joining a community clean-up event, which will be publicised on the Bristol Waste website.”
With the now annual ‘Great Bristol Spring Clean’ in full swing, Bristol Waste are anticipating a huge turn out after their successful previous year.
“Last year, we had 400 extraordinary volunteers take to the roads, lanes, gardens and parks all over the city, anywhere that needed a little sprucing up,”
“Thirty-two separate events took place and a total of 400 bags of rubbish and recycling were litter picked from Knowle to Horfield and everywhere in between.”
This is great news for Bristol’s Mayor Marvin Rees and his ‘Clean Streets initiative’ which pledges that the streets of Bristol will be ‘measurably cleaner by 2020’.
“Measurably cleaner means more reuse, repairing and recycling so that less waste is produced and disposed of in landfill,”
“I’m asking every citizen to do her or his bit to help clean up this great city of ours. If we all work together, we can change the city around us and make dirty streets, litter, fly-tipping and all that’s defacing our local communities things of the past,”
“Making Bristol and its streets cleaner is something that everyone who lives, works, learns, or plays here contributes to.”
Mayor Marvin Rees has also appointed a project manager, Kurt James to oversee the project:
“We’re asking people to report problems as they see them, tell us how we can improve our services and get involved. In return, we will regularly report back on the city’s progress, champion best practice and enforce where necessary.”
Calling all community groups! This new #BristolCleanStreets fund is aimed at groups wanting to improve their local high street. The fund is available for items such as brooms, litter pickers or graffiti kits (up to a cost of £500 for an event): https://t.co/E2ddroGllO 🚮 😊🌱 pic.twitter.com/XlH29qwfnI
— Bristol Waste (@BristolWaste) 1 May 2019
Members of the public can also apply for support from the ‘Community Clean-up fund’, an £80,000 kitty that can help provide equipment, training and additional resources for events that can raise the profile of a community project.
The fund is accessible through groups that represent Scouts or Guides, Small to Medium Enterprise, charities or faith groups as well as constituted organisations.
“All applications which meet the fund criteria will receive support.”
The fund is not available for individuals.
Bristol City Council have also bolstered the ranks of the Environmental Enforcement Officers active in the city with the appointment of 3GS.
“Environmental Enforcement Officers will patrol the city every day to cut down on environmental crime and increase environmental awareness,”
“If you’re caught committing an environmental crime such as littering, you’ll be given a fixed penalty notice charge (fine) on the spot. If you don’t pay the fine it’ll be transferred to a court prosecution process.”
WHAT IS AN ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME?
An environmental crime is any of the following:
• Dropping litter on the street or from your vehicle: this includes chewing gum and cigarette butts
• Graffiti: this includes painting or damaging a tree or any road signs
• Nuisance parking
• Not putting your domestic or commercial waste out properly
• Breach of a Community Protection Notice
• Breach of Public Space Protection Orders: not clearing up your dog’s mess, not keeping your dog under control, taking a dog into an excluded area such as an enclosed children’s play area, drinking in a no-drinking area
If a person is found committing any of these crimes they can receive a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for anything between £100 and £200.
There have been over 1500 FPNs handed out in Bristol in 2019 so far.
The #BristolCleanStreets is part of the Clean Streets Superheroes campaign.
Social media engagement is key in spreading the word about the campaign by sharing or tweeting support.
“All the children featured in the campaign have been involved in litter picks as part of school or youth groups,”
“Taking inspiration from these youngsters, we’re asking everyone in Bristol to share responsibility for helping keep the city clean.”
The ‘Clean Streets strategy’ relies on community engagement.
Not only does Bristol City Council hope to rely on members of the public to regularly update them of both their own progress and the performance of Council efforts, they also want to set a precedent of cleaner streets principles and standards for the future.
“Whether it’s a cigarette butt, takeaway wrappers or a drinks can, our message is simple: Use the bin or take your litter with you,”
“If we want Bristol to be a great city then let us be clear about what we want it to look like and help it to become that,”
“We will embed the Clean Streets principles in the local authority and how it works moving forward and ask our partners to do the same.”