Hundreds help declare zero tolerance to rubbish on Fylde beaches
Residents who have quickly rallied round in a bid to make Fylde a zero tolerance zone for litter have come in for glowing praise for their efforts.
In little more than two weeks since visitors left rubbish galore at local beauty spots during the sun-soacked first weekend after lockdown travel limits were lifted, more than 1,200 people have joined a litter-picking group mobilised via social media.
The response has been such that the group is already going out at six locations along the Lytham and St Annes shoreline for regular Saturday morning litter picks - and interest is such that it looks set to grow even further.
Tracey Hope, an RNLI volunteer who is one of the co-ordinators of the group, said: “We’ve a huge problem in Lytham St Annes with rubbish not being disposed of properly, primarily by visitors.
“We asked for people to help make Lytham St Annes a ‘Zero Tolerance Zone’ for litter louts - and the response has been amazing.
“Last Saturday was the second of our family litter picks/beach cleans and we had a wonderful turnout of people of all ages.
“The group is for everyone who feels bitter about litter, children involved receive a certificate for their efforts and the picks happen rain or shine.”
Fylde Council chief executive Allan Oldfield, who was seen clearing up some of the mountain of rubbish left on the beach on that first weekend visitors were able to return and joined the litter pickers for last weekend’s session, led the praise, saying: “The response from the local community to the challenges faced recently with the volume of litter has been inspiring.
“Fylde has always had a strong sense of community evidenced by the number of established volunteer groups that litter pick or support In Bloom campaigns but the recent numbers have taken the support to a new level.
“The circumstances experienced a couple of weeks ago were unique – people who had been housebound for several weeks could travel and congregate just as the sun came out, but it was not possible for them to enjoy bars, cafes or restaurants so everyone had takeaway or picnic food that have lots of packaging.
“The volume of people and waste exceeded the capacity of the bins, despite additional collections and litter pickers.
“Most people tried to contain their waste but instead of taking the litter home when the bins were full it was left beside the bin or in some cases on the beach or Lytham Green.
“Tracey and others from across the local community rallied people with enthusiasm and passion, highlighting irresponsible behaviour and canvassing for support to clean up the local community in partnership with the council.
“Before we knew it, teams of volunteers were out collecting litter on the beach, the dunes and The Green using their own equipment and supplies.
“As soon as we could identify the co-ordinators, we made contact to thank them all and offered support with bags, gloves and litter pickers.
“More importantly, the groups were connected to each other as well as the Love My Beach network which provides advice and support on behalf of Keep Britain Tidy to litter picking teams across the Fylde coast.
“The positive momentum and energy have been phenomenal with various groups collecting hundreds of bags of waste while running a social media campaign that is helping to create awareness and change behaviours.
“We are delighted to be in the background providing any support the new and established groups require whether it is equipment or health and safety advice.
“The team have been impressed with how organised the groups are with planned locations, times and objectives, each session starting with a safety brief and the focus on family that has seen hundreds of children having great fun while collecting litter.”
Fylde MP Mark Menzies added: “For 1,000-plus people to join a litter picking group after the mess left by visitors to the area a couple of weeks ago makes me proud to live in Fylde.
“It is clear the vast majority of the issues we saw during the recent sunny spell were from day trippers rushing to the coast.
“The amount of rubbish left on the beach - even buried in the sands - as well as our green spaces was atrocious.
“I’m delighted to see such a positive and strong response from residents. The volunteers and council staff worked wonders to tidy up that mess and it is great to know there are so many more people prepared to keep our community clean.”
Anyone can join the Saturday morning litter picks at 10.30am at any one of the six start and finish points – Lytham RNLI, Fairhaven Lake RSPB, St Annes RNLI, St Annes Pier, North Beach car park and Starr Gate light craft club. Details on Facebook at Tossers in Lytham St Annes or SOS Lytham St Annes.