My team and I spent Friday morning in Mellows Park in Beddington, picking up litter and helping to clean up the park in support of this year’s Great British September Clean, run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy.
The Great British Spring Clean is one of those annual events in the Parliamentary calendar that all MPs look forward to, and it is such an important community initiative. I was really pleased that Keep Britain Tidy cleverly rebranded it this year to the Great British September Clean, after planned events earlier this year were cancelled due to the lockdown.
The campaign, which was postponed in early spring due to Covid-19, ran from 11-27 September 2020 and encouraged the great British public to take part in small, socially distanced clean-ups to remove litter from streets, parks and beaches across the country. It brings together individuals, community organisations, businesses and councils to show they love where they live. In 2019 more than half a million #LitterHeroes collected more than 900,000 bags of rubbish.
My team and I had a fabulous time in Mellows Park on Friday, litters pickers held high on a beautifully sunny morning, as we walked around tidying up after previous park users. From broken glass, disused electronics, empty beer cans, and discarded cigarette butts, it was amazing how much rubbish can be left behind, and just how important it is for us all to be responsible and take our litter home with us.
I had separately raised the issue of smoking related litter with Ministers at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and I was pleased to see from their response that they also take this issue seriously, and share my determination to reduce the level of cigarette litter in the UK. The Minister assured me that her Department is continuing to engage with the tobacco product manufacturers as well as organisations like Keep Britain Tidy to ensure that the tobacco industry takes increasing responsibility for the litter that its products create. You can read my letter, and the response, below.
Although the Great British September Clean has come to an end, I would ask everyone to be considerate of others, and to either take your rubbish home with you or put it in one of the bins provided. I know the overwhelming majority of people are conscientious and do this already, but there’s always more we can all do. If you happen to see litter, even if not yours, do consider popping it in a nearby bin if safe to do so.