Posted by: dorsetcpre | September 30, 2010


Litter in its many forms is a difficult problem to deal with both locally and nationally.
At CPRE we are concerned about the proliferation of litter, dog fouling, fly-tipping and abandoned vehicles in our towns and especially along our roads and other places in the countryside.

The Dorset Campaign Against Litter (DCAL) was inaugurated at CPRE Dorset in 2003 by Paul Goldman of East Orchard in north Dorset and Richard Mann who was then our Director.

Cigarette Butt Bin

A Cigarette Butt Bin

We meet three times a year in Dorchester and this is essentially a coordinating body which brings together officers from the County, District and Borough Councils, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Dorset police and schools, together with representatives from CPRE and a variety of local voluntary groups. CPRE National Office sends a representative and the meeting is chaired by Robin Bawtree. Between fifteen and twenty people attend each meeting to hear about new initiatives and to exchange ideas. The interactions between the professional officers and the volunteers are particularly useful.Much of the work of the Officers is to do with education, informal warnings and discussion with offenders, and with formal warning letters. However, the most important relevant litigation in recent years has been the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act of 2005. This provides Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) and Enforcements for the dropping of litter, dog fouling, fly-tipping and abandoned vehicles. This legislation has made a substantial difference and we receive regular updates from each of the councils about the numbers of FPN’s issued, and of occasional prosecutions in the Magistrates’ Court.

Voluntary Groups include Brian Bean’s litter collectors in Chickerell, David Rose’s Clean up Blandford Campaign, and Bob Kerr’s group who have installed many cigarette butt bins on shops and public buildings in Dorchester.

The national Parish Litter Warden Scheme has signed up nearly seventy Wardens for periods of between one and three years. Dorset CPRE has applied for and received £1500 from the Scheme and is presently sorting out the details with several parish councils. It is hoped that further funds may become available.

The National Stop the Drop Campaign was launched with a comprehensive Report entitled  “Litterbugs: How to deal with the problem of littering”  by our National President, Bill Bryson, in April 2008. This received a great deal of publicity and was featured in a Panorama programme. The Campaign is working with Local Authorities, the Olympic Games, the National Parks, and with several national commercial companies, such as Coco-Cola and McDonalds who are happy to refund marketing cost for litter campaigns.

Bill and his team have recently been researching the recycling of bottles and a new scheme entitled  “Have we got the bottle?  Implementing a deposit refund scheme in the UK” was launched last month with a good deal of national publicity. This new initiative covers glass, plastic and aluminium and will substantially reduce the amount of waste which is sent to landfill each year. Not everyone presently recycles all their bottles!

Litter Pick Equipment

Minimum equipment is needed for a litter picking group

Bill is helped, among others, by Sam Harding at National Office who liaises with Dorset and with many other Branches and with litter picking groups throughout the Country.

Litter-picking sticks, high-visibility jackets and big plastic litter bags are supplied from central funds and are available at the Branch office in Dorchester. This has encouraged many groups, large and small, throughout the country to get started. It does not need much planning or organisation and you do not need a large number of people. It may be best to keep away from private property, or at least ask permission, and above all make sure that what you are doing is safe. I am an honorary breeding bird recorder on a 300 acre nature reserve and I have organised a small working party to keep it free of litter.

You, dear reader, could do your bit and organise something or just join in with an existing group. You can find the nearest Litter Picking group to where you live on the website I leave you with that thought.

By Dr John Larkin

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