Published Tuesday, 14th December 2021
A volunteer litter-picking group in the borough of Reigate & Banstead has been shortlisted for the #LitterHeroes prize at the Keep Britain Tidy national awards taking place in February 2022.
Tadworth, Kingswood, Lower Kingswood, Walton & Burgh Heath Litter Pickers is an independent group of volunteers dedicated to cleaning up litter from parts of the borough.
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council nominated the group for the award, which celebrates an outstanding contribution by an individual or group that has demonstrated commitment to the local environment and reducing litter.
The volunteer-led group is organised by eight area leaders across villages in the borough, who liaise with around 600 group members via their Facebook page.
A spokesperson for the group said: “We set up our very productive litter picking group in August 2020 as a direct response to the huge amount of litter that was blighting all of our villages and the roads that join them. Several people answered our ‘call to arms’ on Facebook and we quickly established a litter picking group covering a wide area and with many members.
“There are organised picks most weekends - we vary the area that we ‘hit’. It’s not unusual to get 10 or 11 large sacks of rubbish collected in an hour.
“It’s an addictive pastime and generates good feelings of civic pride. Friendships have been forged and our locale has been shown some love.
“We have cleared vast amounts of historic litter but we struggle to keep on top of the daily deluge of trash hurled (mainly) from cars.
“This does not diminish us, we turn out en masse, we clear up an area and leave it looking lovely again. Thanks to RBBC for collecting our bags so quickly and for being so supportive of our efforts.”
Thanks to their hard work they’ve created a civic pride in the areas which has had a knock-on effect of less litter in the villages and on other public land. It has also led to an increase of reporting old rubbish and fly tipping to the council.
The Council is grateful to all the selfless volunteers who give up their time to help keep the borough clean, but they wouldn’t have to if people disposed of rubbish responsibly.
As part of a strategy to tackle littering, this year the Council launched its ‘No Rubbish Excuses’ campaign to encourage residents to bin their waste responsibly when out in public.
In addition to the campaign, which saw anti-littering messaging posted in public areas and online, the Council spends £1 million each year keeping the borough’s streets clean.
The Keep Britain Tidy awards recognise and celebrate local authorities that are committed to making significant improvements to the environment on people’s doorsteps, from community engagement work to waste enforcement work. There are ten award categories, each with three shortlisted contenders.
The Keep Britain Tidy Awards will be presented at the charity’s annual Network Conference at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole hotel on 10 February, 2022.
Tadworth, Kingswood, Lower Kingswood, Walton & Burgh Heath Litter Pickers can be found on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/groups/2701052563543422.