Businesses, government and campaign groups unite to cut litter

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn and Bill Bryson of the Campaign to Protect Rural England have today forged a new union with business leaders to tackle the blight of litter.

Major brands from the fast food, fizzy drinks and chewing gum industries are coming together for the first time with Keep Britain Tidy, government representatives, local authorities, land managers and campaign groups.

McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Wrigley’s are among firms forming the partnership with authorities to stamp out litter which continues to be strewn on footpaths, roads, and trapped in hedges.

Hilary Benn said:

“Cleaning up street litter costs all of us nearly £800million a year. I’ve seen hardworking street cleaners in action this morning – but we all share responsibility for tackling litter, whether that’s government, business or individuals. There’s no reason to drop litter in the first place and no-one should have to live with dirty streets, so it’s up to us to change things.”

Bill Bryson, Campaign to Protect Rural England President, said:

“Litter is a blight on what is some of the most beautiful landscape in the world. CPRE has spent two years pushing for this meeting and we hope now to see significant progress being made to rid Britain of litter for good.

“The UK spends a fortune – around £2.1 million a day – on clearing up litter, but very little of that goes to picking up litter in the countryside.  We desperately need a committed agreement between government and the private sector to get Britain clean again everywhere.”

Mike Phillips, Chairman of Keep Britain Tidy, said:

 'Neighbourhoods strewn with litter affect us, our families, our feelings of security and sense of pride. Spending such money on clearing litter from our streets cannot go on, and we need to work together to tackle this problem head on. Today, government and industry are taking a significant step by getting round a table and discussing potential ways forward, so we can build a cleaner, greener and safer country that we are all proud to call home.'

All the delegates see littering as unacceptable and partners will meet again in the autumn to come up with new and innovative solutions to cut litter.

Over 30 million tonnes are collected from the streets of England every year, according to Keep Britain Tidy. The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act in 2005 gave local authorities extra powers to improve local environment quality including making it easier to issue fixed penalty notices.

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