Forest organisations are calling for groups, societies and businesses to become litter heroes and join the New Forest Spring Clean.
Last year an amazing 1,200 litter heroes volunteered to clean up the New Forest in over 50 litter pick events as part of the national Great British Spring Clean campaign led by Keep Britain Tidy.
Organisers are being asked to begin planning their litter picks by setting dates, arranging for equipment and encouraging their members to join in the events between 20 March to 13 April.
They can contact New Forest District Council which offers support and advice, loans litter picking equipment and collects the rubbish after the event. For more information about this support and how to book a litter pick go to www.newforest.gov.uk/springclean.
Cllr Alison Hoare, Portfolio Holder for the Environment and Regulatory Services at New Forest District Council, said: ‘The New Forest Spring Clean was such a successful event last year, it would be fantastic if we could get even more litter champions this year. The event shows how much local residents care about where they live and wish to protect their beautiful unique environment. I hope that those who throw litter can learn from our wonderful volunteers’ example, to whom I am so very grateful.’
More than two million pieces of litter are dropped in the UK every day. As well as being unsightly, litter is a serious social, economic and environmental issue. It causes harm to communities and wildlife, and costs taxpayers over £1billion nationally each year to clear up which could have been used to deliver other front-line services.
Litter makes our local areas look untidy and uncared for and can take many years to biodegrade. Research shows litter encourages more litter to be dropped and contributes to further crime, with people feeling less safe in areas with more litter.
Food and wrapping thrown from cars such as burgers, bread, apple cores and drinks cans attracts vermin such as rats and causes harm to wildlife and habitats. Yet it is entirely preventable.
Edward Heron, Member of New Forest National Park Authority and Hampshire County Councillor for Lyndhurst and Fordingbridge said: ‘Last year was such a success and a wonderful way of getting people from all the community involved in improving our rare and protected natural habitat. I hope this early call to action will inspire new groups from across the National Park to start planning their own litter pick. Let’s work together to clear up unsightly and potentially harmful litter in one of Britain’s most treasured landscapes.’
Bruce Rothnie, Deputy Surveyor at the Forestry England, added: ‘The New Forest Spring Clean campaign is a great way for the local community to get involved in caring for the environment they enjoy here in the New Forest. We all need to think about the footprint we leave behind. By working together, we can make a difference in tackling this important issue and stop litter from becoming a major problem for wildlife, nature and people.’
Lord Manners, Official Verderer said: ‘The Verderers very much support the Spring Clean. Rubbish left on the Forest can be very dangerous to the commoners’ animals who will sometimes eat it. Animals have died from eating plastic. Donkeys and cattle are attracted to plastic waste as are young foals.’
The New Forest Spring Clean is a joint initiative between New Forest District Council, Forestry England, New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire County Council, National Trust and the Verderers of the New Forest.