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I recently read that the Keep Britain Tidy group has suggested on-the-spot fines of £1000 for illegal fly-tipping which is costing the country around £1 billion a year to clean up. Good weather and holidays bring with them an increase in litter everywhere, from beaches to pavements and parks. No area is immune! Maybe huge fines are indeed the answer??

One of our regular contributors, Catherine, has more thoughts on the subject of litter:

trash-313711_640

On 10th March the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee published its report on litter and fly tipping in England; this was the seventh report of session 2014-15.    The Committee’s earlier deliberations were  previously considered in the blog here.

The report begins:

England is a litter-ridden country compared to most of Europe, North America and Japan. Levels of litter in England have hardly improved in the past 12 years and the best estimates are that litter costs the taxpayer between £717 and £850 million a year to clear up. Change is needed.

The report contains some very useful, and horrifying, facts, and estimations of the cost of litter.

It notes and recommends:

  • There has been a 20% increase in fast-food litter in the last year. The Government should bring forward legislation requiring all shops, restaurants and retail food outlets to keep the perimeters of their premises free from litter
  • The most frequently littered items are chewing gum and smokers’ materials.
  • Chewing gum and staining are difficult and costly to remove.  We recommend that our successor committee revisit this issue in one year unless it sees the industry making a much larger contribution to the costs of removing gum and staining and also encouraging its consumers to change their behaviour and achieving a significant reduction in litter. In this regard it should have larger notices about not littering on all its packaging, wrappers and adverts.
  • The tobacco industry is keen to reduce the incidence of cigarette-related litter. The tobacco industry itself must also do more. It should provide, free at the point of sale, portable ashtrays or ‘mini bins’ for the disposal of cigarette-related litter. The Government should ensure that a portion of any increase in tobacco levies is allocated to local councils to help pay for the cost street cleaning; and all public buildings must install receptacles for disposing of cigarette-related litter in those areas where staff congregate to smoke. Again, the installation of receptacles must not be seen as endorsement of smoking or the tobacco industry.
  • Levels of fly-tipping increased by 20% in the last year. The Government should introduce a fixed penalty notice for fly-tipping for household items—the bulk of the incidents—and the industry must introduce a scheme to take away unwanted household appliances and furniture when replacements are delivered. Councils should foster partnerships with charities who are willing to collect such items free of charge.
  • In the end it is individuals who litter and fly-tip their unwanted goods, and it is this behaviour which needs to change. We support a variety of behaviour-changing activities and campaigns to prevent littering. The Government must also assess whether the fixed penalty notice for litter should be increased from its current £80 maximum.
  • We support the introduction of a community clean-up day on 21 March. This should become an annual event.

 

In its consideration of behaviour change, it posits:

CleanupUK told us about “nudging ideas” which aimed to get people to think about litter in subtle ways, and made it “cool” for teenagers to put litter in the bin. To encourage younger children George Monck, Chief Executive, CleanupUK, gave the example of a bin which said ‘thank you’ or burped, when litter was dropped in it. Others have suggested a return to a system of monetary deposits for bottles and cans as an incentive for not littering.

The Committee urges coordinated government action:

The failure to make a noticeable improvement in litter levels in the last 12 years points to a lack of vigour, if not complacency, within Government over the past decade. There is a division of responsibilities between departments which, as it currently operates, creates problems for industry and volunteer groups and has neither reduced litter levels nor stopped the rise in fly-tipping. We recommend that the Government create a national litter strategy for England with a clear framework for action. This must be underpinned with a coordinating role for local councils within their respective areas.

A thoughtful and lucid report, but it will be interesting to see how more and increased fixed penalty notices can be issued at a time of severe cuts to police services.  It is difficult too, to see how fly tipping can be avoided by the removal of unwanted large items “free of charge”; which bodies, charitable or otherwise, can bear this cost?.  Many measures have large pound signs hanging over them, even the “burping” bins.

The idea of the virement of tobacco taxes is not a new one, having been tried in the 1990s in Australia.  In the UK, the HMRC is generally unenthusiastic about hypothecated taxes.  The report is rather vague about the behavioural change needed to stop littering behaviour, and how and by whom this could be achieved.  Presumably it would require concerted, sustained effort and would not be cost-free.

Bottle deposit schemes were advocated by Bill Bryson some years ago, when it was pointed out that plastic bottles are now so cheap to make as to make a deposit/return infrastructure expensive and impractical.  DEFRA has apparently looked into such a proposal, but taken no action.  Voluntary schemes, whilst very helpful, have not solved the problem so far.    Read the full report at:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmcomloc/607/607.pdf

Perhaps coincidentally, the Marine Conservation Society have also issued a report, describing  a September 2014 beach clean where the detritus collected was analysed.   5,349 volunteers cleaned and surveyed 301 beaches collecting  2,457 bits of litter per kilometre.    101 types of litter were recorded.  The prevalence of “wet wipes” was particularly noticed; an average of 35 was found for each kilometre of beach.  These wipes contain plastic and do not biodegrade easily.

This report can be read at:

http://www.mcsuk.org/downloads/pollution/beachwatch/latest2015/MCS_GBBC_2014_Report.pdf

These findings echo many of the points made in an October 2014 report from the chillingly named Surfers Against Sewage.  This study has been issued as part of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, a piece of EU legislation supporting the protection and sustainable use of the seas. Read their report at:  http://www.sas.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/SAS-Marine-Litter-Report-Med.pdf

The surfers write well; their report is braced with a sense of urgency.  “Tackling this marine litter crisis:  if not us, who?  If not now, when?”

“La ilusión no se come”, dijo ella. “No se come, pero alimenta”, replicó el coronel.”

The Savoy will function again as a cinema towards the end of this year, showing a mixture of new releases, classics and live events in a totally refurbished luxury auditorium.

The new owners are a family concern owning two independent cinemas, in Belper and Melton Mowbray, which they also rescued and brought back to use. Their aim is to provide a luxury cinema catering to the whole community. The refurbishment will be undertaken in stages but it is expected that some of the work will be completed fairly soon ready for an autumn opening.

There’s a membership scheme already open, so for more details go to www.savoycinemaheaton.com.

The new owners can be sure of a very warm welcome from Heatons residents. We’ve missed having a local cinema.

Continuing with the canine theme, we come to the cheeky ‘C’s.

Although I haven’t seen her around for a while, Coco is number one on the list:

Coco IMG_20140714_083801

A lovely labrador that is true to the character of the breed and eats anything in sight.

Then there are: Chester, Chloe, Charlie, Cassius, Cassidy, Casey and Che-go?? -sometimes I can’t decipher my own writing so apologies to the little Jack Russell if I’ve got the name wrong.

And a warm welcome to 6mth old Chilli, who has recently moved into the area. You’ll find the local doggy crowd very friendly :)

Great work!

Recent activity in the park has had great results.

The Easter Egg Hunt, organised by the Friends of the park, with invaluable help from the Rotary Club of Stockport Lamplighter, was a resounding success. The park was over-run with eager children in search of corks which they were able to exchange for chocolate eggs. It was a very happy day full of sunshine and smiling faces.

The Friends have also been busy during workdays this year and have managed to dig out the pampas grasses by the bowling green. It took two work days to do this and the bowlers were so keen to have it done that they joined the Friends on one of the workdays to do some digging. Or, maybe they were there to make sure it was going to be done?? The pampas grass was supposed to be a miniature variety but grew alarmingly well and presented the bowlers with a visual impediment – they couldn’t see through it or over it onto the green. If you’ve been in the park and observed strange behaviour from spectator bowlers in the past – jumping up and craning the neck, leaning/listing alarmingly from one side to the other, peering with telescope through the pampas – the obstructive grassy clump was the reason.

Now there is a clear line of sight and, sadly perhaps, fewer opportunities for additional exercise for our bowling friends.

April workday IMG_20150412_090654

Continuing with the A to Z of canine park visitors, we have a brim-full of B’s:

There’s Brimstone, Blake, Bourneville, Bella, Billy beret, Bailey, Blaize, Boston, Buddy, Bobby, Barney and Blue.

Then there’s the lovely Bertha, a four year old Old English Sheepdog, used as a breeding machine and severely malnourished before her present owner came to her rescue:

Bertha IMG_20150211_100241

And Bilbo , a mature and very handsome Springer Pointer cross:

Bilbo IMG_20140410_093139

How could I forget about the beautiful Bonnie? A 2yr old bulldog and already a winner :)

Bonnie IMG_2649

Look out for more doggy discourse in future posts :)

It’s not the 2015th! But it will be the 21st!

The Friends of Heaton Moor Park are busy preparing for yet another eggciting eggstravaganza. Come along and join in the fun :)

on Saturday 4th April

Easter Egg Hunt

 for children aged 0 to 10 years

from 10:00am until eggs run out

 

There will be refreshments, a tombola and other attractions

Heaton Moor Park, Buckingham Road

 

EEH 2015 A4 Poster

A year or two ago, I had the idea of posting something about the many dogs that use the park. I started off just thinking about the variety of names they’ve been given and wondered whether I could compile a list from A to Z. Then, I though it would be quite neat to have not just names but also the occasional photo. It’s taken a while for me to get round to doing this, but here goes:

So, starting with we have:

Alfie, Arthur and Andy. There must be more as I haven’t conducted a comprehensive review, so if you know of others, let me know by email or making a comment. (Just a couple of days after writing this, I came across a very lively bouncy 7month old called Aggie!).

Alfie

Alfie

Alfie is a lovely Miniature Schnauzer.

Arthur

Arthur

Arthur, I think is a Whippet? Not to be confused with the other types of non-canine whippits occasionally seen in the park!!

Andy

Andy

Andy is a nine year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Next time, I’ll see if I can get some B’s :)

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