Blackpool set to be ‘cleanest resort in country by 2020’

Cracking down on litter louts
Cracking down on litter louts
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We’ll be the cleanest resort in the country by 2020.

That’s the message as Blackpool today launched a campaign to clean up the resort’s streets.

Currently it costs the council around £3m a year to tidy up discarded waste including drinks cans, fast-food packaging and sweet wrappers.

Now town hall chiefs have teamed up with Keep Britain Tidy with the aim of making Blackpool the cleanest seaside resort in the UK by 2020.

The five year plan will see residents and visitors urged not to drop litter, while businesses will be asked to reduce the impact of their packaging.

A tougher enforcement regime will also be considered.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We know keeping the streets clean is a huge priority for residents and everyone also knows that our resources are diminishing every year, meaning we have fewer and fewer staff to tidy up after people.

“As a result, it’s absolutely vital we prevent littering at the source by encouraging and enabling people to take responsibility for their waste.”

The council has already been forced to slash its street cleansing budget by £200,000 this year compared to last year.

But it has set aside £24,500 towards developing a strategy which will also consult with people about whether they would like to see stronger enforcement action taken against litter bugs.

It comes in the wake of the introduction of a 5p charge for supermarket shopping bags this week as part of a government crackdown on waste.

Community and business leaders have welcomed the initiative.

Susanne Johnson, chairman of the Blackpool branch of the Federation of Small Business, said: “We need people to realise it isn’t right to throw your McDonald’s rubbish out of the car window, or to leave bottles on the Promenade steps which are then smashed, leaving glass everywhere.

“If you go on the Prom first thing on a Sunday morning, it is an absolute horror. The litter pickers do a great job, but it costs us money to tidy up litter and that money could be better spent on something else.”

Angie Buss, chairman of the Revoe Residents Association, said they were already trying to encourage people to tidy up.

She said: “We have got some litter picking tools and are trying to get together a group of volunteers, but we need to make it a bit of an event, with refreshments etc, to encourage people to come along.”

The new campaign will follow on from the success of the Lovemybeach campaign, which has seen regular litter picks by volunteers on the beach.

Workers from Blackpool Sea Life Centre have been among those who have taken part.

Ricky Lark, Operations Manager at Blackpool Sea Life Centre, said: “It’s great to see more initiatives in Blackpool to help clean up our town and beach.

“We work hard to protect the sea life within the ocean, working with a number of partners on regular beach cleans.

“We hope the new initiative inspires even more members of the community to get involved.”

Keep Britain Tidy’s role will be intelligence gathering, engaging stakeholders and developing an overall strategy.

Its chief executive, Allison Ogden-Newton, said: “We are delighted to be working with Blackpool Council on this ambitious project.

“Keep Britain Tidy has a long track record of working with communities, local authorities and businesses to tackle the problems of littering and fly-tipping.

“It is only by working together that we can make the difference we all want to see.”