Rob has welcomed the publication of the Government’s national Litter Strategy for England, which sets out plans to help tackle this anti-social behaviour across Reading East.
Littler is a continual blight on the local environment and presents a significant financial burden for local authorities, with street cleaning alone costing £778 million in 2015/16 – a cost which could be better utilised on delivering vital public services.
Measures in the Strategy include:
· Issuing guidance for local authorities on updating the nation’s ‘binfrastructure’ through creative designs and better distribution of public litter bins – making it easier for people to throw away their rubbish.
· Bringing forward regulations to give councils outside London new powers to fine the registered keeper of a vehicle from which litter is thrown.
· Recommending that offenders on community sentences, including people caught fly-tipping, help councils clear up litter and fly-tipped waste.
· Working with Highways England to target the 25 worst litter hotspots across the road network.
· Launching a Litter Innovation Fund to support innovative community-led projects aimed at tackling littering and which could see local success stories turned into national initiatives.
· Convening a new expert group to look at further ways of reducing the worst kinds of litter, including plastic bottles and drinks containers, cigarette ends and fast food packaging.
· Creating a ‘green generation’ by educating children to lead the fight against litter through an increased number of Eco-Schools and boosting participation in national clean-up days
Last year, Rob emphasised the importance of a clean and visually-attractive local environment through his Pride in Reading campaign. He called for a renewed collaborative approach between businesses and organisations to improve cleanliness and help tackle anti-social behaviour in Reading town centre; stressing the importance to Reading’s continued economic success of thoroughly cleansed and well-presented public spaces.
Commenting on the announcement, Rob said: “Litter is an issue that affects us all and blights our local environment – whether it be Reading or Woodley town centres, the tranquil spaces beside the River Thames, or the areas alongside our public highways.
“Littering is also thoughtless, selfish and totally inexcusable, yet the repercussions can be costly for local authorities, harmful for businesses, detrimental for the wellbeing of my constituents and damaging for Reading’s reputation. This is something I highlighted last year as part of my Pride in Reading campaign, which called on all those with a stake in our local area to work towards maintaining the highest standards of environmental cleanliness.
“This is an issue I remain passionate about, as I want to make sure Reading East is a great place to live, work and visit. In many parts, local volunteers already work incredibly hard to keep our communities clean through their regular litter picking of adopted streets, but more support is needed if we are to really clean up our area and effect a lasting cultural change.
“The Government’s Litter Strategy will make it easier for us to get rid of litter, but also create an anti-littering culture, where tougher enforcement measures to hit litter louts in the pocket.
“Based on the number of complaints I receive about rubbish, fly-tipping and maintaining the visual attractiveness of our local area, I’m sure this is an approach that will be welcomed by my constituents, who can be reassured that the Government is on their side.”