A new £500,000 fund to help community groups tackle the issue of littering in their neighbourhood has been welcomed on Wearside.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey has announced the Litter Innovation Fund, which will offer financial helpto assist new ways to tackle a problem that blights many communities.
The money will support new innovations and approaches to tackle littering, from behavioural research for better positioned bins and recycling points so more people throw their rubbish away, to digital technology, including apps and ‘smart-bins’ that can text alerts to rubbish collectors when they are full, stopping nasty litter from spilling out onto our high streets or leading people to litter nearby.
Cleaning up the country’s streets costs the tax payer almost £800million a year and the Litter Innovation Fund will support areas to crack down and reduce littering in our communities by enabling councils, community groups, charities, educational institutions, and small and medium enterprises to apply for funding towards innovative and creative solutions to the problem.
Dr Coffey said: “Tackling the litter that blights streets across our country is an important part of our drive to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it.
“I pay tribute to those who help clear up our pavements and verges.
“The Litter Innovation Fund offers a great opportunity for the most creative solutions to littering to receive funding and for us all to learn new ways of how to stop littering happening.
“Ten per cent of the fund is entirely dedicated to preventing marine litter, a growing problem with global consequences for our precious marine environment.
“I encourage groups to get involved and showcase the wealth of options there are out there to tackle littering.
“Let’s help people make the right choices.”
Coun Michael Mordey, Portfolio Holder for City Services at Sunderland City Council, said: “We welcome anything that helps us to tackle litter and fly tipping. We have already invested an additional £500,000 into key frontline services including removing fly tipping and environmental enforcement this year and introduced new fixed penalty notices against fly tippers.
“We know that the vast majority of residents take a pride in their city and dispose of their rubbish correctly. But sadly the actions of the irresponsible few who do not make the effort to help keep our streets, parks, playing fields and neighbourhoods clean and tidy continue to blight our city so we await further details of this scheme with interest.”
Welcoming the fund’s launch, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton, said: “Innovation is vital if we are to change the behaviour of the minority of people who still think it is okay to drop their rubbish on the ground for someone else to pick up.
“Keep Britain Tidy’s Centre for Social Innovation was created to develop and test new approaches to behaviour change and we are delighted to see the Government has recognised the importance of innovation to tackle the blight of littering in our country.”